A preview of the regulations to implement the Patient Right to Autonomy Act (病人自主權利法) is to be published by end of this month, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday.
Touted as the first of its kind in Asia, the legislation grants terminally ill people and some other patients the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment.
It was signed into law by then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in 2016.
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣), one of the bill’s advocates, yesterday called a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, attended by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) and ministry officials, to discuss the law and its regulations.
Sports commentator Fu Da-ren (傅達仁) went to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide because there is no legal euthanasia in Taiwan, Chen said, adding that the act would partially address the issue.
Conflicts between patients and medical professionals over the extent of patient autonomy could become an issue and the government has to implement the act with care, she said.
Yang said that over the past 20 years, she had interviewed numerous terminally ill patients and their family members, and virtually everyone brought up the issue of suicide.
“Rather than seeing medicine as a tool for the indefinite extension of life that had lost its meaning, medical care should be more empathetic and help patients complete their lives with dignity,” she said.
The patient’s autonomy in the patient-doctor relationship should be protected, she said.
Lawmakers from across the political divide have worked together to draft the legislation and they are drafting regulations that would better implement the policy aspects of the law, she said.
The ministry in April published guidelines on living wills regarding medical treatment for patients and institutions, said Liu Yueh-ping (劉越萍), an official at the ministry’s Department of Medical Affairs.
The ministry also expects to complete the draft regulations for implementing the law and publish them before the end of the month, she said.
The ministry this year plans to establish one advanced healthcare directive consultancy for each of the nation’s 22 counties and cities, which would open their doors on Jan. 6 next year, when the law goes into effect, Liu said.
Social worker Yeh Yi-lin (葉依琳) said her institution, Taipei City Hospital, is the first of seven hospitals to participate in the act’s pilot program that began in 2016 and has so far enrolled 240 members.
Most of the men that participated in the program are aged 50 to 79, while the women are aged 40 to 69, she said.
In the draft regulations, medical institutions are responsible for giving advice regarding living medical wills, the cost of which is mostly not covered by the national health insurance, which could impede the law’s implementation, Yeh said.
“It is a right and a responsibility for each person to decide how to die and it is my recommendation for the government to create a National Health Insurance-funded credit system for advanced medical care planning,” she said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
RULES TIGHTENED: Passengers arriving from Sydney and Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, while passengers arriving from Seattle all tested negative Seventeen of the 217 passengers who arrived on long-haul at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning tested positive for COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the positivity rate was higher than expected. Yesterday was the first day that the government enforced stricter health guidelines for the testing of passengers arriving on long-haul flights. They must undergo a polymerase chain reaction test immediately after arriving at the nation’s international airports. Those who test positive are sent directly to hospitals to avoid spreading the virus to people working in and around the airports and at quarantine hotels. Victor Wang (王必勝),
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and