초록 close

Treatment performed by doctor means actions to improve and restore patient’s health. But life-sustaining treatment does not improve and restore patient’s health, but is performed only on a sole purpose, to extend patient’s life, and many questions have been brought up whether to permit it or not. Currently, as we can see in foreign cases and domestic cases, it seems that a social agreement on permission to cease life-sustaining treatment is established. Cessation of life-sustaining treatment is permitted only on those who are unrecoverable and have reached near death when any treatments are meaningless, and to judge it has to consider overall meaning of life regarding social and economical aspects of patient and his/her family, not just simple numbers. And a council including the patient’s medical attendant must decide it, and since it deals with life, it is considered just for court to decide once more whether the decision of the council is right. Also, only when these conditions are met, we see that the cessation of life-sustaining treatment can be justified by ruling out illegitimacy through socially established regulations. In regard of ceasing life-sustaining treatment, medical communities are criticizing that our law is too passive, makes judgement too much carefully, and violates autonomy of the medical communities. But our law is the last bastion that can prevent abuse of cessation of life-sustaining treatment, and we think it contradicts our spirit to protect a person’s life to carry out that role carelessly.