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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • 16 Aug 2022
  • 4 min read

Why in News?

A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court to stop a person, who has been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 2014, from travelling to Europe to undergo a physician-assisted euthanasia.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

  • About:
    • It is a serious and debilitating disease that affects the nervous system, the immune system and the body’s production of energy.
    • It is also known as “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”.
    • Its potential results are viral or bacterial infection, hormonal imbalances and genetic predispositions.
    • It can affect anyone, from children to adults of all ages.
  • Symptoms:
    • Significantly lowered ability to do activities that were performed before the illness.
    • At least 6 months (or longer) of debilitating fatigue that is more severe than everyday feelings of tiredness.
    • Most recognizable symptom is Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM).
      • A “crash” in physical/mental energy following even minor activities like grocery shopping or brushing teeth.
    • Other Symptoms:
      • Trouble sleeping, difficulty in thinking, memory retention and concentration, dizziness/light-headedness, headaches, muscle pain, joint ache, flu-like symptoms, tender lymph nodes and digestive issues.
  • Treatment:
    • There is no specific test for the disease, and doctors have to rely on medical examinations, blood and urine tests.
    • Doctors have recommended ways to deal with the symptoms of the disease like “Pacing” in which patients learn to balance rest and activity to prevent crashes caused by exertion.

What is Euthanasia?

  • About:
    • Euthanasia is the practice of ending the life of a patient to limit the patient’s suffering. The patient in question would typically be terminally ill or experiencing great pain and suffering.
  • Types:
    • Active euthanasia:
      • Killing a patient by active means, for example, injecting a patient with a lethal dose of a drug. Sometimes called “aggressive” euthanasia.
    • Passive euthanasia:
      • Intentionally letting a patient die by withholding artificial life support.
    • Voluntary euthanasia:
      • With the consent of the patient.
    • Involuntary euthanasia:
      • Without the consent of the patient, for example, if the patient is unconscious and his or her wishes are unknown.
  • Legal Provisions in India:
    • In 1994, the Supreme Court of India in Gian Kaur vs State of Punjab had held that both assisted suicide and euthanasia were unlawful.
      • The bench stated that the right to life did not include the right to die, hence overruling the two-judge bench decision in P. Rathinam vs Union of India which struck down section 309 of Indian Penal Code (attempt to suicide) as unconstitutional.
    • In 2011, the Supreme Court in Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs Union of India held that passive euthanasia could be given a nod in case of exceptional circumstances and under strict monitoring of the apex court.
    • In 2018, the Supreme Court declared the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right, allowing passive euthanasia in the country.

Source: IE

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