Monday, December 20, 2004

Begging to be killed

He begged to be killed. But, not out of fear or pain, out of his sincere desire to help at least five other patients who were in need of various organ transplants. However, the last wish of the 26-year old Hyderabad chess player, K. Venkatesh, reamined unfulfilled.
Venkatesh, who was suffering from Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, begged for euthanasia so that his organs can be harvested in good condition. Despite his mother's best efforts, she was unable to win the legal battle to fulfil her son's last wish. The Hyderabad high court had rejected both her pleas of advancing Venkatesh's death to enable organ transplant and for including non-heart beat deaths in the organs transplantation act. Despite his sincere desire to help five more patients, none of his organs, barring eyes, were useful for transplant as Venkatesh had been on a ventilator for a long period.
The courage and compassion displayed by this sportsman, even at his death bed, is something truly awe-inspiring. The humaneness displayed by this young man, in this selfish world, is certainly commendable. Kudos to him.
Inspired by this incident, another terminally ill man with the same ailment, K. Srinivas, wants to donate his body for medical research. The 35-year-old has been suffering from this ailment for the last 17 years and desperately wants some cure, if not for him atleast for others like him.
Though it is truly beyond my capacity to comment on whether euthanasia should be allowed or some revamp of Organ Transplantation Act should be done, the Government can certainly make some amendments in such 'extreme' cases. If the patients are unable to get any effective treatment in such distressing cases, atleast they should have the option of getting an "honourable exit".


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