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VOLUME 28 , ISSUE 1 ( January, 2024 ) > List of Articles

COMMENTARY

Ethics and Medicolegal Aspects of Withdrawal of Treatment in Critical Care Patients without Advanced Directives in India: Who will Guard the Guardians Themselves?

Mahesh Radhakrishnan Menon

Keywords : End-of-life care foregoing of life support withdrawal and withholding ethics, Law, Terminally ill patient

Citation Information : Menon MR. Ethics and Medicolegal Aspects of Withdrawal of Treatment in Critical Care Patients without Advanced Directives in India: Who will Guard the Guardians Themselves?. Indian J Crit Care Med 2024; 28 (1):15-17.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-24600

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 30-12-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2024; The Author(s).


Abstract

The Supreme Court (SC) verdict of 2023 has been welcomed by the medical community in India by those who treat patients with terminal or advanced illnesses. The earlier verdict of the apex court in 2018 was ground-breaking in allowing for advanced directives (ADs) by patients in terms of their preferences at the end of life. However, it was an impractical and lengthy process in the Indian context. The recent verdict has simplified the process of withdrawal of life support, making it more practical. The authority to withdraw life support in dying patients is now also with the treating physician, the hospital, the primary medical board, and the secondary board. This article examines ethical issues related to the specifics of the judgment with respect to those who do not have ADs in India. The present article emphasizes the need for self-regulation, credentialing, and continuing medical education in critical care and palliative medicine. In the absence of these, who will guard the guardians?


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