CHENNAI: A panel of medical experts has been formed to examine a nine-year-old child, comatose since birth, and submit its recommendation on the plea made by the child’s father seeking permission for passive euthanasia.A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and S Baskaran passed an interim order to this effect on a petition from R Thirumeni, Monday.
The panel will consist of N Thilothammal, former pediatric neurology professor, T Ravichandran, director, Institute of Social Paediatrics at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital and Bala Ramachandran, Paediatric Critical Care Unit chief, Kanchi Kamakoti Child Trust Hospital.
They are to examine the child and file a report on whether he meets criteria for persistent vegetative status and if it is treatable. When petitioner’s counsel N Kavitha said the plea would be a fit case for euthanasia if the panel found no scope for reversal of the child’s condition, the bench said it had to be careful, or it (decision) would forever prick its conscience.
The bench directed director, TN Government Multi-Super Speciality Hospital, Omandurar Government Estate to send an ambulance to bring the child from his home in Cuddalore to the hospital in Chennai, where he will be tested. It said the Centre and State shall find out if the government or any NGO can care for the child. The plea may be the first of its kind since Supreme Court on March 18 held that right to life includes the right to die with dignity.