Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life of another person to relieve pain and suffering. When the consent of the person is considered, it can be classified into voluntary, non-voluntary or involuntary, and based on the method of application, it is classified into active or passive euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia can be performed at the time of the illness or in advance by way of “living wills”. ‘Involuntary euthanasia’ is performed against the will of the patient and the physician takes the decision on his own. In ‘non-voluntary euthanasia’, the patient leaves the decision making capacity with a physician or a relation by proxy. If no prior proxy, a court order can be obtained. In ‘active euthanasia’, death is brought about by an act of commission and in ‘passive euthanasia’; the death is brought about by an act of omission by the physician. However, none of these methods can be practised in Sri Lanka.Why ‘non-voluntary passive euthanasia’ should be legalized in Sri Lanka? To up hold the rights of the terminally ill and allow them to die with dignity. Otherwise, physicians misuse euthanasia and perform illegal and unethical malpractices such as ‘Do not resuscitate (DNR) orders’. However, in ‘non-voluntary passive euthanasia’, the medical paternalism is minimal, because, ‘proxy’ is not directly related to ending of life, it is to take relevant decisions if incapacitate. Further, it is legalized in India, England, Albania, Hungary and many parts of the USA. Therefore, non-voluntary passive euthanasia should be considered for legalization in Sri Lanka.
How to Cite:
Vidanapathirana, M., (2017). Non-voluntary passive euthanasia should be legalized in Sri Lanka. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 5(1), pp.1–5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v5i1.7346