Euthanasia: A Dilemma
The concept around euthanasia needs to be debated and discussed in the society at large and one must look into the psychological aspect around it before we are able to make a final decision around it. At the same time the dignity of life, and need to have a dignified end to life, both need to be well respected as an individual’s rights.
When it comes to passive euthanasia, or a right to refuse invasive treatment in end stages, be it ventilator or other supports. I feel this right an individual needs to decide for self, and the society needs to respect that, and there is almost uniform acceptability of this, almost around the world. Though I do feel families in such cases need to be given psychological support, and for that, I feel bereavement and grief counseling, needs to become a part of healthcare in our country.
But when it comes to active euthanasia, I think this is not an obvious issue, and it’s a very complex matter, that’s why not many countries have been able to formulate a clear policy on it. A blanket yes to euthanasia or a blanket no, both are very difficult. We need to be absolutely right from all possible sides to be able to reach the decision of considering euthanasia for any individual, we cannot afford to go wrong on this one very important decision involving individuals and their families.
What one needs to understand while we talk about euthanasia is that many factors need to be looked into:
- It’s a very difficult decision for any family, and for each member of the near family to be comfortable and accept the decision is not easy, and this may also lead to disharmony
- One needs to look into long term psychological implications on the immediate family as well, as revisiting the decision may lead to significant stress so a support mechanism needs to be in place
- It’s very difficult for the treating doctor, we doctors are programed to save lives, and this would have its own psychological impact, needing a healthy support mechanism that gives psychological support
- A panel that needs to medically take this decision has to be formed that looks into physical, psychological, (and religious factors) of the individual and family and a clear medical guideline for the clarity on what kind of medical conditions can be applicable to be considered needs to be formed
The society needs to value life, and the dignity of life, to be able to value the decision of having a dignified end to live.
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