EUTHANASIA-Legal Position

EUTHANASIAEuthanasia means the practice of helping severely-ill people die, either at their request or by taking the decision to withdraw life support. It also means the termination of life by a doctor at the express and voluntary wish by a patient. The practice of illegal euthanasia is increasing at a very high rate in the recent times which required many of the foreign Govt. to establish stringent rules and regulations with regard to the same. These laws in foreign countries allow euthanasia which requires the doctors practicing it to possess a reasonable standared of care and caution along with skill. With regard to the law in Holland, it does not make other citizens eligible for euthanasia. Taking into consideration the other European countries, it again puts up a huge prohibition upon euthanasia even if the patient wants to die and, as a matter of public policy the consent of the victim cannot be raised as a defence against the same.

Euthanasia is of Passive and Active forms. Passive euthanasia is the one in which when treatment to which the patient has not consented is ended. The Bland case 1993 (Airedale NHS Trust v. Bland [1993] AC 789 HL) made a landmark ruling on the same in which the High Court and the House of Lords allowed the parents and the hospital authority concerned, to withdraw the artificial nutrition and hydration which kept  Anthony Bland, a 17-year-oldboy,alive.

Taking into account Active euthanasia, it occurs when treatment is administered with the intention of ending the patient’s life. Here, in Dr.Arthur’s case, 1985, the jury at Leicester Crown Court acquitted the doctor. It was decided that he had not committed the act of ‘positive euthanasia’ instead; he had merely prescribed a drug, which had resulted in the peaceful death of a child.

Again it must be noted that, a Euthanasia which is deliberately conducted would normally leave anyone assisting for the same liable for murder. That is; the law imposes strict penalty upon those who conducts the same without complying with the requirements of law. Thus, unauthorised or illegal euthanasia is austerely forbidden by law. Therefore it is concluded that, the same can be practiced only for serving those people suffering like anything from their illness or like other health diseases to do away with the same. It should not be used as a weapon in the hands of the doctors and other authorities to clear up their responsibilities to provide required and appropriate treatment in their relationship with patients, which to a great extend can act as a control upon the same.