Supreme Court ruling on end-of-life care: Hospitals huddle to frame guidelines for doctors
The Association of Healthcare Providers of India decided to form a national and several state level committees to come up with directives on how hospitals and doctors should go about the ruling.
NEW DELHI: Hospitals across the country have initiated a process to frame guidelines for doctors in the wake o the landmark Supreme Court verdict on end-of-life care.
The Association of Healthcare Providers of India, the largest body to represent private hospitals in the country, on Saturday decided to form a national and several state level committees to come up with directives on how hospitals and doctors should go about the ruling that empowers patients and their families to decide when the life support can be withdrawn during critical conditions.
“Currently, hospitals were wary of possible litigation due to the then existing rule of needing to go to the High Court for each case and this created an environment of mistrust,” said Girdhar Gyani, director general of the AHPI. “Now these decisions will be made ethically, with no fear of unnecessary harassment for the treating team”.
“We have therefore decided that we will form our panels to discuss the judgement threadbare and ways to implement it and frame code of conduct for the doctors and hospitals accordingly,” said Gyani.
Another senior member of the association said that while the apex court has prescribed strict guidelines about writing and registering an advanced directive or living will, these should mitigate the worry of misuse even though no law in the world is totally immune to misuse.
“As the association of healthcare providers, we also want to reassure the public as we must ensure an environment of mutual respect and trust between doctors and patients,” he said. “The palliative care community is very happy that we are moving to a more just and humane approach to patient care”.
Pradip Bhattacharya, general secretary elect of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine said that the judgment should lead to hospitals laying down standard operating procedures for doctors.
“As intensive care specialists we struggle with the dilemma on what to suggest to families whose kin are critical and often beyond recovery, every day. Hospitals, based on the SC ruling should now lay down clear cut protocols on when to pull the plug and what exactly should the doctors’ role be in such circumstances,” he said.