Mumbai: The Association of Medical Consultants will soon launch the e-format of ‘livingwill’ – a legal document that specifies actions to be taken when someone is not in a position to take their own medical decisions.
The move has come after renowned gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Data became the first doctor in India to register a ‘living will’. Following in his tracks, 15,000 doctors in India have come forward.
Aim to create awareness about much-needed document
Dr Mukesh Gupta, a gynaecologist and chairman of a media and communication firm, said the association is aiming to create awareness about the much-needed document as most people don’t know what it is and how to make it.
Dr Gupta said, “We want to make it easier for everyone so that in future no one has to struggle. It will give people the right to make their own medical decisions when they themselves can’t. The association’s aim is also to bring in a standard format so that more people can opt for it,” he said.
In 2018, the Supreme Court legalised passive euthanasia and recognised the “right to die with dignity” as an integral component of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
In January, the apex court amended the existing guidelines to simplify the process of creating a ‘living will’. This change aims to make the process less burdensome for individuals seeking to document their end-of-life preferences.
Dr Lalit Kapoor, president of the Federation of Association of Medical Consultant India (FAMCI), said it took five years to implement the ‘living will’. “We are studying formats from other countries, based on which we are making certain changes in our ‘living will’ which will be in e-format,” he said.
Dr Datar’s ‘living will’ states that treatments to artificially prolong his life should be withheld or discontinued if he has an “incurable, irreversible illness” or if he becomes unconscious and there is a high likelihood that he won’t recover.
At the seminar he organised on Feb 26, he said, “The way forward is still not easy but not very difficult if more people come forward. I made the will because I believe in it and I want to help others.”
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