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Report No. 241

2. Definitions.-

Unless, the context otherwise require.-

(a) 'advance medical directive' (called living will) means a directive given by a person that he or she, as the case may be, shall or shall not be given medical treatment in future when he or she becomes terminally ill.

(b) 'best interests' include the best interests of a patient :

(i) who is an incompetent patient, or

(ii) who is a competent patient but who has not taken an informed decision, and are not limited to medical interests of the patient but include ethical, social, moral, emotional and other welfare considerations.

(c) 'competent patient' means a patient who is not an incompetent patient.

(d) 'incompetent patient' means a patient who is a minor below the age of 16 years or person of unsound mind or a patient who is unable t.-

(i) understand the information relevant to an informed decision about his or her medical treatment;

(ii) retain that information;

(iii) use or weigh that information as part of the process of making his or her informed decision;

(iv) make an informed decision because of impairment of or a disturbance in the functioning of his or her mind or brain; or

(v) communicate his or her informed decision (whether by speech, sign, language or any other mode) as to medical treatment.

(e) 'informed decision' means the decision as to continuance or withholding or withdrawing medical treatment taken by a patient who is competent and who is, or has been informed about :(

(i) the nature of his or her illness,

(ii) any alternative form of treatment that may be available,

(iii) the consequences of those forms of treatment, and

(iv) the consequences of remaining untreated.

(f) 'Medical Council of India' means the Medical Council of India constituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956).

(g) 'medical practitioner' means a medical practitioner who possesses any recognized medical qualification as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) and who is enrolled on a State Medical Register as defined in clause (k) of that section.

(h) 'medical power-of-attorney' means a document of decisions in future as to medical treatment which has to be given or not to be given to him or her if he or she becomes terminally ill and becomes an incompetent patient.

(i) 'medical treatment' means treatment intended to sustain, restore or replace vital functions which, when applied to a patient suffering from terminal illness, would serve only to prolong the process to dying and include.-

(i) life-sustaining treatment by way of surgical operation or the administration of medicine or the carrying out of any other medical procedure and

(ii) use of mechanical or artificial means such as ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

(j) 'minor' means a person who, under the provisions of an Indian Majority Act, 1875 (4 of 1875) is to be deemed not to have attained majority.

(k) 'palliative care' include.-

(i) the provision of reasonable medical and nursing procedures for the relief of physical pain, suffering, discomfort or emotional and psycho-social suffering,

(ii) the reasonable provision for food and water.

(l) 'Patient' means a patient who is suffering from terminal illness.

(m) 'terminal illness' mean.-

(i) such illness, injury or degeneration of physical or mental condition which is causing extreme pain and suffering to the patients and which, according to reasonable medical opinion, will inevitably cause the untimely death of the patient concerned, or

(ii) which has caused a persistent and irreversible vegetative condition under which no meaningful existence of life is possible for the patient.

Passive Euthanasia - A relook Back

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