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.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,