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89 Pct. of Doctors Favor Patient’s Right to Die

Posted December. 08, 2008 05:16,   


In the wake of the court ruling granting a terminally ill patient`s right to die, 80 percent of doctors support the decision, the results of a survey released yesterday said.

Ninety percent of doctors also said they would want the right to end their lives if they were terminally ill.

Samsung Seoul Hospital polled 455 of its doctors from Nov. 20 to Dec. 2 and the results were exclusively obtained by The Dong-A Ilbo yesterday.

Among those polled, 86.4 percent at Samsung Seoul Hospital said they oppose keeping people alive on machines when there is no chance of revival.

In another survey conducted by the National Cancer Center in September, 82.3 percent of adults favored a patient’s right to die with dignity. Considering the latest poll by Samsung Seoul Hospital, doctors growingly support ending the life of a patient who has no chance of recovery.

When asked to put themselves in the patient’s shoes, 88.6 percent of doctors favored the right to die with dignity, up 2.2 percentage points.

On who should make the decision to halt treatment for terminally ill patients, 62.8 percent said the patient and 59.2 percent the doctors’ medical judgment. Seventy-two percent said if they were terminally ill, they should have the right to end their treatment, and 48.8 percent said the doctors’ medical judgment should decide.

The majority of doctors (88.5 percent) also supported the introduction of a law giving the terminally ill the right to die with dignity.

Jeong Seong-su, an orthopedic surgeon, said, “The reason for the higher support for death with dignity by doctors when they put themselves in the patient’s shoes lies in that the law and social recognition put a huge burden on doctors, who have to remove the respirator if it is meaningless to extend life.”

“The survey results show a patient’s own decision to end his or her life is more important than medical judgment, which is in line with the court decision on the removal of life support for an incapacitated patient.”