EUTHANASIA, ALSO known as assisted suicide and mercy death, is the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit.
Euthanasia is a Greek word meaning ‘good death’ and refers to the practices of ending life in a painless manner.
It is illegal in India and most countries of the world. Only ten odd countries have legalised the practice of mercy killing. Some social activists claim that euthanasia and assisted suicide are government mandated suffering for the terminally ill persons.
The DoctorNDTV.com survey on this issue has shown a mixed response. More than half the respondents feel that the decision should not be left to the doctors or the next of kin, while one third support the doctors / relatives right to take this decision. Two-thirds agree that euthanasia is the same as mercy killing. Though 71 per cent people feel that legal advice is necessary before taking a decision, most people (>88 per cent) feel that it may be misused in India.
Internet portals give the following pros and cons for allowing euthanasia.
It provides a way to relieve extreme pain
It provides a way of relief when a person’s quality of life is low
Frees up medical funds to help other people
It is another case of freedom of choice
Euthanasia devalues human life
Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
Physicians and other medical care people will get involved in directly causing death
There is a ‘slippery slope’ effect that will occur.
Stances, views and opinions on euthanasia vary greatly; it is called murderous by some and merciful by others. Such controversy arises generally from the serious social, cultural and moral issues attached to the subject.