Bioethics Blogs

Taiwan Enacts Health Care Decisions Law

On Friday, the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan passed a patient self-determination act, giving patients the right to stop treatment in five clinical situations at the end of their lives. (Taipei Times)

The five clinical conditions to which the law applies are 

  1. Terminal patients
  2. Patients with irreversible comas
  3. Patients in a persistent vegetative state
  4. Patients with advanced dementia
  5. Patients with other conditions categorized as incurable.

The act, said to be the first in its kind in Asia, will be promulgated three years after its announcement, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.

The act stipulates that the patient can decide in advance or after consultations with doctors to refuse end-of-life care when facing the five conditions.  Two physicians specialized in fields related to the patient’s illness and the patient’s hospice care team must confirm the person’s condition twice before the patient’s wishes are acted upon.

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