Madras HC Orders Examination Of 9YO Boy In Plea For Passive Euthanasia [Read Order]

Madras HC Orders Examination Of 9YO Boy In Plea For Passive Euthanasia [Read Order]

The Madras High Court on Monday directed a panel of medical experts to examine as early as possible, a 9-year-old boy whose father sought permission for his passive euthanasia on the ground that the boy has been in the persistent vegetative state (PVS) since birth.

The Bench comprising Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice S. Baskaran directed the doctors to specifically examine:

  1. the present status of the child;

  2. whether the child fulfils the criteria for persistent vegetative state (PVS);

  3. whether the said state of the child is treatable or if there is any scope of treatment to reverse the child’s condition.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by one R. Thirumeni, whose son has been suffering from Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) since birth, and has consequently been in a PVS. He suffers from complete brain damage and total motor disability. He also experiences uncontrolled epileptic attacks 10 to 20 times a day.

Taking note of such submissions, the Court had, on 24 August, constituted an independent search committee to nominate three doctors from various fields of medicine to examine the child. This was in view of the judgment in the case of Common Cause (a registered society) v. Union of India and another, wherein the Supreme Court had held passive euthanasia to be legal and had issued detailed guidelines in this regard.

The Search Committee had then, on 6 September, named the medical experts to examine the child. Approving this list, the Court now directed the child to be brought to Chennai, from Cuddalore, ordering the Tamil Nadu Government Multi-Super Speciality Hospital, Omandurar Government Estate, Chennai to provide for an ambulance for the child. The Director of the hospital is also expected to provide all facilities to the child as well as to the experts examining him.

The Court further directed the Centre as well as the State Government to find out whether the government or any non-governmental organization can maintain the child. It ordered,

“…the Central as well as the State Government are directed to find out as to whether the Government itself or any other Non- Government Organisations can maintain the child, since the child is having normal respiration and digestion and the only problem is the forced feeding and it is different from the other patients, whose condition is critical viz., brain death.”

The matter has now been posted for hearing on 4 October.

Read the Order Here