SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of South Koreans who have signed advance statements indicating their desire to avoid meaningless life-sustaining medical treatment if they are near death is approaching 2 million.
According to monthly estimates of registrations for advance statements on life-sustaining medical treatment compiled by the National Agency for Management of Life-Sustaining Treatment, the number of registrations stood at 1,941,231 as of the end of August. Women accounted for 68 percent or 1,319,812, while men accounted for 621,419.
Considering that about 50,000 cases were newly registered in the past month, it is anticipated that the cumulative number of such registrations will surpass the 2 million mark either this month or next month.
The term ‘advance statement on life-sustaining treatment’ refers to a prepared written statement outlining one’s determination to terminate life-sustaining treatment and hospice care.
Anyone over the age of 19 can visit one of the 429 designated registration institutions nationwide. After receiving a thorough explanation, they can sign a document affirming their decision not to receive life-sustaining medical treatment if they are deemed to be in the process of dying.
This life-sustaining treatment determination system was introduced on February 4, 2018, following the enactment of the Life-Sustaining Treatment Determination Act, commonly referred to as the Death with Dignity Act or the Well-Dying Act.
The objective of this law is to empower individuals to choose the cessation of meaningless life-sustaining treatment, thus enabling them to conclude their lives in a dignified manner.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)