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Developing Policy for Life Sustaining Treatment Decision for Patient without Surrogat

  • Korean Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Abbr : 의료윤리
  • 2018, 21(2), pp.114-128
  • DOI : 10.35301/ksme.2018.21.2.114
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Medical Ethics
  • Research Area : Medicine and Pharmacy > General Medicine
  • Received : May 24, 2018
  • Accepted : June 14, 2018
  • Published : June 30, 2018

KIM Bobae 1 Myunghee Kim 1

1국가생명윤리정책원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The National Bioethics Committee of Korea recommended that hospital ethics committees should be allowed to make life-sustaining treatment decisions on behalf of patients without surrogate (family or friends). However, no such provision is included in the Act on Hospice and Palliative Care and Decisions on Life-sustaining Treatment for patients at the End of Life (hereafter the “Act on Decisions in Life-sustaining Treatment”). While the Health and Welfare Committee of the Korean National Assembly did attempt to include such a provision in the form of an amendment to the aforementioned act, the Legislation and Judiciary Committee rejected it on the grounds that it did not specify the precise legal requirements of the hospital ethics committees. In other countries, including Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K., there are laws or guidelines governing the medical decision-making process for patients without surrogate. In this article, we review the background of this issue, the current practices in other countries, and the relevant legislative process. We suggest that a system should be established in Korea for making life-sustaining treatment-decisions for patients without surrogate.

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