Thirteen hospitals in South Korea will launch trial operations of end-of-life care this week, just over three months before a law on dying with dignity comes into effect, officials said Sunday.
The law, which will take effect from February next year, was passed by the National Assembly in January last year and allows terminally ill patients to seek the right to die when there is no chance of recovery.
During the three-month trial operations that begin Monday, the hospitals will consult with terminally ill patients or their family members about end-of-life care, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The hospitals will also test how they treat the terminally ill patients who seek the right to die.
The nation’s Supreme Court recognized a comatose patient’s right to die with dignity in 2009 and ordered a hospital to remove her respirator, noting that continuing treatment just to prolong life without hope of recovery violates an individual’s dignity.
The 78-year-old woman, who had been in a vegetative state, died in January 2010, 200 days after being removed from life support, though doctors had expected her to die in less than three hours.
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