Aruna Shanbaug

Who Ultimately Decides When Is The Time To Die

Sometimes human body suffers such irreparable damages that even after all possible efforts, it’s not possible to go ahead with it anymore, then the person should be allowed to decide”TO LIVE OR TO LEAVE”.

The moment a human or any life form is born, it’s decided that sooner or later IT WILL DIE. Parents give you birth but who has the right over your life? How long do you want to live & when do you want to stop this game – who will decide all this? You, your family, government, any judicial authority, or humans are still not considered sane enough to decide it? Does this sane-ness differ from country to country?

Hisashi Ouchi craved death for 83 days

35 years old Hisashi Ouchi, while working at the Tokaimura Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 1999 with 2 others, met a severe nuclear accident in a lab. They were pouring Uranium into a huge metal vat. However, due to a miscalculation, they poured 16kg of uranium in place of 2.4kg., as a result, the liquid reached a ‘critical point’ and released dangerous neutron radiation and gamma rays into the atmosphere. According to reports, due to the fact that workers were manually transferring the solution, they had no way of measuring how much had been used.

Hisashi Ouchi
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All 3 persons got radiation injuries but Hisashi was the most severely injured. Out of the other 2 persons, one died within a few days and another one recovered but Hisashi, could neither die nor recover. He had suffered serious radiation burns to most of his body, experienced severe damage to his internal organs, and his skin, and had a near-zero white blood cell count.

His body was found to have absorbed 17 Sieverts of radiation while even 0.5 sieverts is considered too much for a human body. Without a functioning immune system, Ouchi was placed in a special radiation ward to limit the risk of contracting an infection.  

Doctors attempted to restore some functionality to Ouchi’s immune system with different techniques. After receiving the transplant from his sister, Ouchi initially responded but again his condition deteriorated. He was reportedly “crying blood”, as he bled from his eyeballs. His skin was falling down from his body. At the wishes of his family, doctors repeatedly revived Ouchi, even as it became clear that the damage his body had sustained through radiation was untreatable.

Ouchi is said to have begged the doctors to stop saying “I can’t take it any more! I am not a guinea pig!”. On the 59th day of his time in hospital, Ouchi’s heart gave out three times. However, doctors were able to get it started again.

On 21 December 1999, Ouchi’s body eventually gave out and he died as a result of multiple organ failures.

Aruna Shanbaug remained in Coma for 42 years after brutal Rape

Aruna Shanbaug, born in 1948 worked as a staff nurse at the KEM hospital, Mumbai was brutally raped by a staff boy on November 27, 1973, at age of 25. He had strangled her with a dog chain. The attack cut off the oxygen supply from her brain leaving her blind, deaf, paralyzed, and in a vegetative state for the next 42 years. Aruna could only survive on mashed food. She could not move her hands or legs, could not talk or perform the basic functions of a human being.

Aruna Shanbaug
Aruna Shanbaug, before & after
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In 2009, a plea for euthanasia was filed by journalist Pinki Virani. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India responded to it by setting up a medical panel to examine her. After getting the report, the hon’ble court turned down the mercy killing petition in 2011. However, it allowed “passive euthanasia” of withdrawing life support to patients in a permanently vegetative state (PVS) through a high-court monitored mechanism. Finally, she died of pneumonia on May 18, 2015.

A Dying Machine ‘Sarco’ designed for Euthanasia

In a bizarre development, the ‘Sarco’ machine that facilitates assisted suicide has passed legal scrutiny in Switzerland and is approved for conducting Euthanasia. The machine is said to provide painless death to the individual within less than a minute by causing hypoxia and hypocapnia. In this situation, oxygen supply at the tissue level becomes extremely low and carbon dioxide in the blood reduces below optimum levels leading to death.

The coffin-shaped device also consists of a detachable base, which is biodegradable and can serve as a coffin for the deceased.

The person can kill themselves by just blinking their eyes inside it. The special feature that captures the signal from blinking eyes is designed for people who are terminally ill and suffer from diseases like locked-in syndrome. In this syndrome, the whole body of the patient is paralyzed and only the eyes can move voluntarily.

Assisted suicide is permitted in Switzerland, and around 1,300 people were believed to have used euthanasia organizations like Dignitas and Exit last year. The terminology around euthanasia is sometimes inconsistently applied, but there is a difference between euthanasia, assisted suicide, and assisted dying. Only a few countries in the world have considered this need and passed different laws and still, a debate is going on in many.

Why consider dying at all?

Life has been given by the Existence or Supreme power (by whatever name you call it) for living. Why not avail yourself of this chance by all possible means & why to even think about finishing it, face the struggle! But as I discussed in the above cases and as we find in many other similar cases of people who are suffering from untreatable ailments or conditions, a solution is needed.

Such people become suicidal and keep finding ways to die or say “kill me”. They often keep asking others “when will I die”! When the human body has suffered such irrecoverable losses that even after all possible efforts, it is not possible to go ahead with this body anymore, then it would not be wrong to consider the possible means of ending the unbearable suffering.

Who can make the final decision about death?

A very important question in this scenario is ultimately who will make the final decision in such cases? Parents (in case of minors or in case of others who are single) or children or doctors or legal heirs or any judicial courts? In my opinion, this decision can’t be made by anybody except the person himself, provided the person is in a position to understand the situation and give consent, maybe by the BLINK OF EYES or any such method.

Note:- By this article, I am in no way advocating suicide or death. Live your best life, but if the life has become impossible due to any circumstances then there must be some way out to end pain and suffering. I just want a discussion on this topic on a humanitarian basis.

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1 thought on “Who Ultimately Decides When Is The Time To Die”

  1. I’ve heard discussion and news about this over the past couple of decades and it’s interesting to see how it’s being tackled and understood as time goes on. It’s a highly nuanced issue — thanks for sharing some info about it.

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