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Thread: Is life worth living this way?

  1. #1

    Post Is life worth living this way?

    This is the real life story of Aruna Shanbaug, a staff nurse in KEM Hospital, Mumbai. The nurse was 24 years in1973, waiting to get married to her fiance. On the fateful night of Nov 27, when she went to her rest room to change her clothes and leave the hospital, she was brutally assaulted by a ward boy (Sohanlal Walmiki) who was having a grudge against her for being ordered and reprimanded on few occasions. He strangulated her with a dog's chain and sexually assaulted her.

    The next morning, Aruna was found unconscious. Her brain parts were damaged due to the strangulation leading to impairment of speech, sight and hearing. Ever since that day, she is leading a vegetative kind of life. She can see but her brain cannot register what she sees. She is living in this condition for the past 37 years.

    Her close relatives have abandoned her and her fiance who waited for four years beside her, got married. The ward boy who underwent imprisonment for seven years, was released, went to Delhi, changed his name and got employed as a ward boy and recently died of AIDS.

    The nurses, who take care of Aruna, are willing to continue to take care of her for the rest of her life. They feed her with mashed semi liquid food, clean her, and attend to her needs sincerely. But her friend Pinky Virani is pleading with the court to stop Aruna being fed so that she dies with dignity.

    The Supreme Court today has adjourned the judgment to Monday.

    Now this is not an exact case of euthanasia (in Greek it means "good death"). The victim is able to breathe on her own, is fed orally and is being taken care of the hospital. She is able to express her liking for fish and chicken and becomes calm when music is played. Hence there is no need to let her die of starving, these are the arguments of those who are taking care of her.

    All the happiness, joy, excitement, fun, freedom of a young twenty four year lady have been snatched away totally from her and she has been existing in a room on a bed for 37 years. Isn't it a pity?

    In the above case of Aruna, when the nurses are taking care of her with affection (it seems, in all these years she has not got any bed sore), I think that she may be allowed to live. She is also unable to give her opinion of whether she wants to live or not.

    There are many such cases, writhing in pain, helpless, being a burden physically and monetarily, to their loved ones, wanting to leave this world of pain and suffering...Should euthanasia be legalized in our country? Does the victim have a right to wish to die with dignity and escape from the clutches of pain and suffering? What are your views?
    Last edited by jayashree s kumar; 02-03-11 at 03:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Wizard MythiliK's Avatar

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    Feb 2009


    Chellamaa, sometimes decision making is tough in few cases. Because, I know how people will make use and bend laws according to them.

    For example, if we make "Mercy Killing" as a legalized one, I am damn sure that there would be few people who will utilize it to get rid of their aged parents even. There would be doctors who are ready to do it for them, if they get enough money (after all, they are in a spree to collect back all the donations they gave for their education).

    Our politicians will use it to their best to get rid of officers like we discussed in the below thread. They can just kidnap them, admit in a hospital with a small injury and hide them for years together and kill them saying were in COMA (I know it is a bit weird imagination. But anything can happen in this rotten Politics)

    So, it is better not to legalize it in OUR country.

    But in few cases, with the help of court, it can be handled. I cannot say opinion in the case of Aruna, as she still has someone to take care. But there are lots of people living around (especially in Orphanages and some hospitals) who have no one to take care and suffering with bed sores and leading painful life. For them, I would say "Mercy Killing" is far better than let them die painfully.

  3. #3
    Zealot rooparaghav's Avatar
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    Nov 2009


    Jaya, I agree with Mythu...I recently read, that a Coma patient gained conscience after more than 20 years! Living in vegetative state is more painful, to both the patient and their caregivers..!

    I have read Aruna's story before also...She is not exactly in a vegetative state...but the person who raped her, I believe was let out for some thousands as punishment! Not really sure though!

    Euthanasia to be legalized or not? I would only say, NO...For the kind of society we are living in, I would not be surprised, if doctors are bribed and people start killing their old parents like Mythu said!

    Euthanasia is supposedly a big relief to people who are literally suffering between Life and Death! To see someone, you love and care, suffering in front of you for that small air of breath, is more cruel than death! Its very tough to let your loved ones go, on the other hand!

    A life is a life..Nothing...literally NOTHING at all can replace a LIFE! To let a life go against the rules of nature, is something, I would never be in favour of! At the same time, to see someone, lying like a vegetable in front of you is also, unbearable pain!

    The decisions would all depend on the circumstance and the situation of the patient...!

  4. #4


    Meetu and Roopa, your responses are similar to my views. As you both say, legalizing euthanasia will/may lead to misuse of the same. But in genuine cases where the victim/patient is suffering unbearable pain and where there seems to be no hope, and if the patient is also consciously responding to questions asked, then mercy killing will be a soothing solution to him/her. Of course it is a very painful decision for the patient as well as his beloved ones, but it will bring some solace to the affected.

    Roopa, the ward boy was imprisoned fpr 7 years and on his release he went off to Delhi.

    The ward boy who underwent imprisonment for seven years, was released, went to Delhi, changed his name and got employed as a ward boy and recently died of AIDS.

    Another thing about Aruna is her parents died some years back and they did not support her also. Even her brother and close relatives abandoned her not only because of her condition but also because of the manner in which she was victimized. The case on the ward boy was only for attempt to murder and robbery for fear of the taboo of her being sexually abused. That is why he was let off with 7 years' imprisonment. He should have been given a life imprisonment for the brutal manner in which he treated Aruna. He met his end due to AIDS.

  5. #5


    And the verdict is out yesterday on the expected lines...Yes, Aruna will live as long as she is destined to.

    The Staff nurses and Doctors in K E M Hospital were delighted as they felt that an alternate verdict would have made them wonder what they had been doing for 37 years...

    Sweets were distributed among the staff and they fed Aruna with her favorite fish curry and Rice and also some kaju kathli...

    Dr. Sanjay Oak, the Dean said, “It is a landmark judgment, also a humanitarian judgment, it acknowledges the role of the KEM nurses, reposes confidence in the public health system, and gives a stimulus to the thought process on passive euthanasia, which is welcome.”

    May God Bless the staff and Doctors who are taking care of the lady with affection and love and also Bless Aruna with a living without pain...

  6. #6
    Zealot rooparaghav's Avatar
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    Nov 2009


    I also heard the verdict and was really impressed....May God bless the people who have been taking care of Aruna for years together!

  7. #7
    Zealot kfsahiwala's Avatar
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    Feb 2008


    It totally depends upon the circumstances. It is very difficult situation to tackle. We don't have to take advice of patients but atleast from her relatives.

  8. #8
    Banned bapu1953's Avatar
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    Nov 2010


    It differs from case to case. In Aruna's case I feel she should have aright to choose, if she can. If she is not in a position to understand or express any thing then she may be allowed to die.

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