Saturday, December 18, 2004

"My son is gone but my fight for his cause will go on"

"My son is gone but my fight for his cause will go on"

By T. Lalith Singh

HYDERABAD, DEC.17. K. Venkatesh, the muscular dystrophy patient whose case
set off a debate following his request for euthanasia in order to be able
to donate his organs, died in hospital here on Friday.

According to doctors at Global Hospital, where the 25-year-old chess
enthusiast spent his last few days on a ventilator, the end came around 5
a.m. The cornea was harvested and taken by the L.V. Prasad Eye Hospital
for transplant.

The other vital organs — kidneys, liver and lungs — could not be used for
transplantation as infection had set in, doctors said. "The infection was
caused due to the extended use of a ventilator," a hospital spokesman
said. The body was shifted to his home at Mehdipatnam. Venkatesh's mother,
K. Sujatha, keeping her poise, said: "My son wanted to donate his organs
but his wish was not fulfilled. He is gone, but my fight on this issue
will continue. The attitude on euthanasia and organ transplant has to
change and I will not relent till then."

Following a plea made by her, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had on
Thursday ordered the setting up of a committee to reconsider the plea for
mercy killing to enable Venkatesh to donate his organs. A committee
constituted earlier under the Andhra Pradesh Transplantation of Human
Organ Act had decided that Sujatha's request cannot be conceded as her son
was not brain dead.

The last rites were performed at the cremation grounds in Mehdipatnam.

Fulfilling one of her son's last wishes, one that was in her own hands
unlike his euthanasia plea, Ms. Sujatha lit the pyre.

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