Things we need to know about euthanasia:


The term ‘Euthanasia’ is derived from Greek word meaning ‘good death’. It is the act of intentionally killing a person with to bring an end to his/her suffering.

It is not widely practised across the globe and still considered illegal in many countries.

There are 5 types of euthanasia:

  • Voluntary Euthanasia– When the person who wants to die makes a voluntary and enduring request to be helped to die.

  • Involuntary Euthanasia– To end a person’s life without their knowledge or consent.

  • Active Euthanasia– To end a person’s life by using drugs, whether by oneself or with the aid of a physician.

  • Passive Euthanasia– To end a person life by not taking the necessary and ordinary action to maintain life, like withdrawing water, food etc.

The Supreme Court of India declared passive euthanasia legal under certain circumstances on March 9, 2018.

In south India there is a custom called ‘thalaikoothal’ wherein the old people who are extremely ill will be given fresh cow’s milk until they suffer breathing problems and eventually die.

One of the unforgettable cases of euthanasia is that of Aruna Shaunbag, a nurse, who remained in permanent vegetative state for 42 years following a sexual attack on  her by a fellow worker in the hospital. A journalist on behalf of her had had filed a petition for euthanasia in the year 2010 and the case was taken up seriously in the year 2011. However the hospital staff where Aruna worked and later admitted there denied to take her off the ventilator. She died a natural death in the year 2015.

Out of 197 countries in the world, euthanasia is legal in only 9 countries – Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Albania and US. Even in USA, only the states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana have it legalised.


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