[LETTERS to the editor]Yes to death with dignity
Regarding the editorial, “Death with dignity” (Nov. 29), I think that such a sensitive and controversial issue about a person’s right to die with dignity is going to be publicly discussed. The approval by the Seoul Western District Court on Nov. 28 of the request by the family of Kim, a 75-year-old brain-dead woman, to turn off a respirator [that kept her breathing] was a meaningful judgment.
We cannot know when we will die. A lot of patients who don’t have any hope to recover only prolong their lives with medical aid. The patients are only breathing. Is just lengthening life a really happy option for them? I don’t think so. It only gives emotional and financial suffering to both the patients and their family.
It is an emotional problem when long-term medical treatment becomes an obstacle for a patient to die with dignity; the family ends up sick and tired, and it even destroys beautiful memories between the patient and the family. I heard from a friend whose mother-in-law was brain-dead that it was a torturous decision for her family when asked by the doctor whether to attach a respirator to the patient or not. If the respirator is attached, it cannot be removed until she dies.
In addition, expensive medical fees are a burden on the shoulders of the family. If there was anticipation of a cure, they would endure any hardship. However, in the case of a hopelessly brain-dead person, the financial problem just gets bigger.
A survey by the National Cancer Center showed seven out of 10 people agree with passive euthanasia; it shows the opinion of a lot of people about the right to die with dignity.
Sunny Kweon, Teacher