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Legislation concerning Physician-assisted Suicide in Korea

  • Korean Journal of Medical Ethics
  • Abbr : 의료윤리
  • 2022, 25(4), pp.313-323
  • DOI : 10.35301/ksme.2022.25.4.313
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Medical Ethics
  • Research Area : Medicine and Pharmacy > General Medicine
  • Received : September 8, 2022
  • Accepted : October 13, 2022
  • Published : December 31, 2022

KOH YS ORD ID 1

1울산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In 2011 Korean Medical Association proposed guidelines concerning the withdrawal of life-sus-taining medical treatment, but in the years that followed, the proposal and the issue it addressed failed to receive any significant public attention. However, Korean legislators have recently held discussions on the so-called “Aided Dignity Death Act” (i.e. the Partial Amendment to the “Act On Hospice And Palliative Care And Decisions On Life-sustaining Treatment For Patients At The End Of Life”). Public discussions such as these are evidence of the rapid social changes that are taking place in Korean attitudes towards end-of-life care. In light of these recent changes, efforts should now be made to build a social consensus on the rights of patients at the end of life. This article contributes to that consensus-building process by analyzing the following six aspects of the proposed legalization of physician-assisted suicide (PAS): a patient’s right to choose the manner and timing of their death, the contents of the proposed act, the legitimacy of medical practices to support PAS, how prepared the Korean medical community is for the implementation of PAS legislation, the complement of the current legislation on end-of-life care, and the necessity of an organization for facilitating social discussions on PAS. The article argues for extending the right of patients to decline any intensive care from the “period of imminent death” that is mentioned in the current legislation on end-of-life care to the “terminal stage of life.”

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.