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Experts call for living will conversations

April 7, 2018


Experts discuss need to have more conversations on death, and ways to write an implementable living will, reports 'The Hindu'.


Following the recent Supreme Court judgement in favour of living will and passive euthanasia, eminent doctors and activists met at Tata Memorial Hospital to discuss the road ahead.

The experts discussed issues such as the need for more conversations on death among the general public and ways to write an implementable living will.


Dr. Roop Gursahani of End of Life Care in India Taskforce said, “We need to gather more knowledge through conversations. All of us need to be talking about death. This judgement has given us a legal framework, but unfortunately there is no procedural clarity.”


Dr. Gursahani said, “There are many terminally-ill patients and their families who feel burdened and express the need to die in peace. They do not want to be subjected to the experience of being stranded on futile life support. This is a historic ruling by the Supreme Court. We need more open and varied viewpoints on this topic.”


The experts also discussed if death following a ‘living will’ will be construed as natural death. “If the entire process is legal, why would the insurance company not term it so?” asked radiation oncologist Dr. Nagraj Huilgol, who is also the president of the Society for the Right to Die with Dignity.


While there is lack of clarity over what the living will should consist of and how it can be rightly implemented, most experts agreed that one should make a broad living will and choose a close person who would know what decision to take at the time.


The discussion was jointly organised by Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, Maharashtra Palliative Care Network, Forum for Medical Ethics Society and End of Life Care in India Taskforce.


Original report here:

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