There is a widespread belief that Euthanasia and good palliative medicine are mutually exclusive. It is important to explore whether the philosophy of palliative medicine which lays an emphasis on a good death also recognizes the individual's right to seek death as a means to end suffering.
A survey exploring the attitude and opinion of respondents on the extent of involvement of Palliative/Supportive medicine professionals in the provision of Euthanasia was conducted among the registered delegates of Indian association of Palliative Care conference 2018.
55.66 percent (85/153) of the respondents agreed that the debate on Euthanasia was within the purview of Palliative Medicine, while 52.71 percent (78/148) agreed that the provision of Euthanasia was within End of Life care. 61.27 percent (87/152) of the respondents believe that a set of multidisciplinary experts should be introduced to initiate the discussion on Euthanasia in a terminally ill patient when the same is expressly demanded by the patient or family members. A majority (37.68 percent - 52/138) disagreed with the use of the terms Passive and Active euthanasia. A majority of the respondents (51.74 percent - 74/143) also strongly disagreed with the use of the term physician assisted suicide. 42.46 percent (62/146) of the individuals agreed that the right to a good death and Euthanasia were mutually exclusive. 40.13 percent (61/152) agreed that they do not recognize the right to Euthanasia.
The right to seek Euthanasia as a means of a respectable death is a debatable subject which should be approached carefully keeping in mind the distinct sociopoliticocultural thread which runs through the moral fiber of each society. The involvement of experts from multiple subspecialities (as suggested by the highest court of law in India) while ignoring the pivotal role of the palliative medicine professional in establishing a framework of guidelines surrounding Euthanasia does not seem to be justified. The importance of having the tenets of law firmly on their side should not be underestimated by Palliative/supportive medicine professionals who are bound by duty to take the lead in the discourse surrounding End of life care.
Clinical trial identification
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Rahul D. Arora.
Has not received any funding.
The author has declared no conflicts of interest.