A Request for Euthanasia for the First Time in South Korea

by Hannah Punitha on  December 17, 2008 at 4:02 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
A South Korean hospital said Wednesday it would appeal a landmark court ruling which approved a request for euthanasia for the first time in the country.
 A Request for Euthanasia for the First Time in South Korea
A Request for Euthanasia for the First Time in South Korea

Severance Hospital said it would file an appeal with the Supreme Court against a lower court's decision acknowledging an individual's right to die.

In the ruling three weeks ago, a district court in Seoul told doctors to take a brain-dead woman off feeding and ventilator tubes at her family's request.

It said the 75-year-old woman identified only as Kim has no chance of recovery.

This is a matter of life, requiring maximum prudence, Severance Hospital chief Park Chang-Il told reporters.

He said his hospital would bypass an appeal court and go straight to the supreme court if the woman's family agrees.

The current law bans any form of assisted suicide and sees the removal of a respirator from brain-dead patients as murder.

Kim was declared brain-dead in February after she sustained brain damage and fell into a coma while undergoing a lung examination.

Three months later her children filed a court petition after the hospital rejected their request that she be allowed to die in peace and with dignity.

The family claimed that extending Kim's life using medical devices would prolong her painful and meaningless existence.

Local religious communities have been split on the subject of euthanasia.

In 2004 a family was convicted of murder for removing life support systems from a brain-dead relative. A doctor was charged with aiding murder.

Last year a father was given a four-year suspended jail term for the removal of a respirator from his brain-dead son.

Source: AFP

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