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Some 85,000 terminal patients opt to die with dignity over 2 years: data

All Headlines 11:20 February 04, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- More than 85,000 terminally ill South Koreans have chosen to forgo life-prolonging treatment since the legalization of the right to die with dignity two years ago, government data showed Tuesday.

The law took effect on Feb. 4, 2018, allowing terminal 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 with dignity stood at 85,076 over the past two years.

Of the total, 51,016, or 60 percent, of the patients were male, with those aged 60 or older taking up 80 percent.

The four treatments -- cardiopulmonary resuscitation, artificial respiration, hemodialysis and anti-cancer drug administration -- are only meant to prolong the lives of terminally ill patients without giving any treatment from the start.

The data also showed slightly over 37,300 terminally ill patients have so far registered with authorities to die with dignity without receiving further treatment.

A total of 577,000 people have registered a letter of intent with hospitals and public organizations to stop receiving treatment once they became terminally ill.
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