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S.Korea reaches agreements on life-sustaining treatment termination issue

07-14-2010 17:08 BJT

SEOUL, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Social consensus has been achieved in South Korea in terms of the scope and details of cutting off life-sustaining treatment for terminally ill patients including those in a vegetative state, Seoul's government said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Wednesday delivered major agreements made by a consultative group, launched in December last year and composed of 18 experts from different sectors of the society, such as religious, medical and legal circles.

Under the agreements, patients with terminal conditions including terminally ill patients in a vegetative state, with their own consent, can be free from life-sustaining treatments like respiratory support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in order to die with dignity.

However, the group has failed to hammer out an agreement on whether doctors can assume the will of a patient in a too critical condition to express it directly, and a representative of the patient can make a decision instead.

The debate over the right to die in South Korea had intensified after last year's case in which the Supreme Court ordered to remove the respirator from Kim Ok-gyeong, a 77-year-old comatose woman, upon her family's request to stop the futile life- sustaining treatment. She was the first case of death with dignity in South Korea.

The ministry plans to submit the results to the National Assembly

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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