Madras High Court, on Friday, appointed two doctors and a bureaucrat to put in place a three-doctor panel in the case of a father seeking passive euthanasia for his nine-year-old boy, Paarvendhan. Thirumeni from Cuddalore had filed a petition in the Madras HC seeking permission for passive euthanasia on his nine-year-old son, who was suffering from Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
This is the first plea after the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to live with dignity includes the right to die. The case came up for hearing in the court on August 22 before a division bench, consisting of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice S Baskaran.
The bench had, on August 22, directed the state to suggest an independent panel of senior doctors to recommend expert members to the committee to examine the child and had posted the case for further hearing on August 23.
On Friday, the bench appointed Dr Reginald J, a neurosurgeon from Apollo Hospitals, Dr Ramachandran, a retired paediatrician, and bureaucrat Uma Maheswari to the panel. The judges directed the panel to select eligible doctors to examine Paarvendhan and submit the list of eligible doctors by September 10.
According to Thirumeni, Paarvendhan has been having seizures since he was a day old in 2008. After consulting with neurologists, it was established that he had HIE, which means that he had no awareness of himself or his environment despite being in a state of wakefulness. Paarvendhan also completely lacks motor abilities.
Thirumeni spends Rs 10,000 every month to meet the dietary and medical expenses of his son. A few years back, he had suffered paralysis on his left side and has since recovered, but with deficits. Hence, he manages to work only for three hours a day. His wife stays at home to look after Paarvendhan, who is prone to frequent seizures.
To date, Thirumeni has spent Rs 7 lakh towards Paarvendhan’s medical expenses. In spite of visiting numerous hospitals across the country and consulting many neuro-specialists, Paarvendhan’s condition has not changed.