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Tens of thousands opt to die with dignity after passage of law: data

All News 09:27 January 30, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- More than 35,000 terminally ill patients have chosen to forgo life-prolonging treatment since South Korea legalized the right to die with dignity, government data showed Wednesday.

The law went into effect on Feb. 4 last year, allowing patients to sign up to forgo a "meaningless extension of life" by stopping or postponing four life-sustaining treatments.

According to the data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of patients who opted to die without receiving any further medical treatment between Feb. 4 last year and Jan. 28 this year came to 35,431.

Male patients stood at 21,291, with the remainder being women. Nearly 68 percent of the total refused life-prolonging treatments, with consent from at least two family members.

Tens of thousands opt to die with dignity after passage of law: data - 1

The four treatments -- cardiopulmonary resuscitation, artificial ventilation, hemodialysis and anti-cancer drug administration -- are only meant to prolong lives without treatment purposes.

Postponing life-sustaining treatments means that terminally ill patients don't receive any treatment from the start.

The data also showed slightly over 16,000 terminally ill patients have so far registered with authorities to die with dignity without receiving further treatment.

A total of 113,000 people have registered a letter of intent with relevant hospitals and public organizations to stop receiving treatment once they became terminally ill.

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