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Korean Medical Association to allow passive euthanasia

Posted April. 12, 2001 18:07,   


The Korean Medical Association (KMA) will confirm a medical ethics guideline, which will permit passive euthanasia within this month.

With the legalization of euthanasia implemented for the first time in Netherlands, the Korea`s medical sector plans to press the government to make amendments to relevant laws to permit euthanasia on a limited scale. This is expected to stir up controversy concerning euthanasia in Korea.

Thursday, the KMA had devised an ethics guideline permitting the cease of treatment or the discharge of a patient deemed to be medically unrecoverable under the voluntary decision of the patient or family members. The guideline is to be confirmed by the standing board of directors late this month. Fundamentally, the medical and law sectors are willing to allow passive euthanasia.

However, there will be controversy surrounding the guideline as there is a clause allowing a doctor to reject demands for medically ineffective treatment made by either an unrecoverable patient or his/her family. Of course, the doctor would have to give sufficient explanation.

At the present time, Germany, France and Russia prohibit even passive euthanasia while Belgium and Taiwan are driving forward a legalization of euthanasia following the Netherlands.

Song Sang-Keun songmoon@donga.com