Karela Fry

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Euthanasia

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HT reports on a case for euthanasia presented to the Supreme Court today:

A bench of justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra reserved the verdict after hearing detailed arguments by various parties on the question of allowing euthanasia for nurse Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, who slipped into coma after the brutal attack on her at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Several counsel who made submissions on the controversial issue of permitting mercy killing included Attorney General G E Vahanvati, amicus curiae T R Andhyarujina, Ballabh Sisodia for the hospital and Shekhar Naphade appearing for the petitioner and author Pinky Virani, who had sought permission for Aruna’s mercy killing.

“She is one of us, we have taken care of her. In the last 38 years, no one has ever thought of putting her to sleep. This should not be allowed. Let her meet her natural end,” the hospital told the apex court bench of Justice Markendey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra.

The hospital also told the court that such pleas should not be entertained as India was not a matured society and it could have serious consequences.

The court showered praise on the nurses and doctors of the hospital for taking such good care of Aruna that in the last 38 years of her bed-ridden care, she had not suffered even one bed sore.

The court’s observations came in the course of the hearing of the petition by Aruna’s friend Pinki Virani seeking mercy killing for the nurse.

TOI, after a brief report on Aruna Shanbagh’s medical state concludes:

These findings tie in with the summation of a three-member medical committee that checked Aruna earlier this month. She meets most of the criteria of being in a permanent vegetative state, noted the committee set up under the Supreme Court’s directive.

The apex court is hearing a case filed on behalf of the petitioner, Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, by Pinki Virani of Mumbai, as a next friend. About five years back, the US Supreme Court allowed stoppage of feeding for Terri Schiavo, who was in persistent vegetative state for 15 years. Another American, Karen Ann Quinlan, became the first person in a persistent vegetative state whose ventilator support was removed by the court. She continued to breathe on her own and died a decade later on June 11, 1985. While Schiavo’s husband made the plea to stop food, it was Karen’s parents who petitioned for removal of the mechanical ventilator.

See reports on the landmark final judgement.

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