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Over 60 pct of S. Koreans back 'passive euthanasia': poll

2018/09/14 09:50

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SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- More than six in 10 South Koreans favor euthanasia for terminal patients when life support is deemed meaningless, a poll showed Friday.

In the survey conducted by Seoul National University Hospital, 66.5 percent of 1,241 citizens said they are in favor of removing life support from patients when there is little or no hope of recovery -- a practice known as "passive euthanasia."

   Slightly over 77 percent of 928 surveyed doctors answered they favor passive euthanasia, with comparable numbers coming to 60 percent of 1,001 cancer patients and 55.3 percent of 1,006 family members.

South Korea currently bans passive euthanasia, although it allows court-approved euthanasia.

The survey also showed 41.4 percent of the general public supporting active euthanasia, which refers to a doctor giving a patient a lethal injection. Comparable figures were 38.2 percent for cancer patients, 31.7 percent for families and 35.5 percent for doctors.

About 89 percent of citizens are in favor of death with dignity, or refusal of life-sustaining treatments, with the approval rate amounting to 88.3 percent for cancer patients, 89.5 percent for families and 98.9 percent for doctors.

In February this year, South Korea allowed terminally ill patients with no possibility of recovery to choose to die with dignity by refusing four treatments -- cardiopulmonary resuscitation, artificial ventilation, hemodialysis and anticancer drug administration.

The findings further showed about 36 percent of citizens favoring assisted suicide, with nearly 30 percent of cancer patients in favor. Comparable figures were 25.8 percent for families and 27.3 percent for doctors.

The findings of the survey, which was taken at 12 hospitals nationwide between July and October 2016, were published in the September online edition of medical journal BMJ Open.

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