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Doctors raise concerns about India’s draft bill to regulate life support withdrawal

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 23 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2919
  1. Ganapati Mudur
  1. New Delhi

India’s first draft bill to regulate decisions to withhold or withdraw life support and medical treatment to terminally ill patients has worried doctors who believe that the proposed rules may involve the courts in medical decisions.

The bill, released by the Indian health ministry last week for public responses, would allow terminally ill people or their families to decline treatment and doctors receiving such requests to withhold or withdraw support without the threat of legal consequences.1

Members of the Indian Society for Critical Care Medicine and the Indian Association of Palliative Care have been urging the health ministry to regulate issues relating to end of life care. Many doctors believe that an inadequate legal framework and a reticence in the community to discuss death have unnecessarily prolonged the experience of terminally ill patients as well as the wasteful use of private and public resources.2

The …

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