Charactersitics and issues of guideline to withdrawal of a life-sustaining therapy

Younsuck Koh, Dae Seog Heo, Young Ho Yun, Jeong Lim Moon, Hyoung Wook Park, Ji Tae Choung, Hyo Sung Jung, Bark Jang Byun, Yoon Seong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Agenerally accepted consensus of end-of-life (EOL) care decision-making did not appear in Korean medical society until the year 2009. To enhance physician's ethical perception of EOL care, consensus guidelines to withdrawing life-sustaining therapies endorsed by Korean Medical Association, Korean Academy of Medical Science, and Korean Hospital Association, were published on October 13, 2009. In this article, the characteristics and issues with the guidelines are presented to improve understanding by physicians who interact with EOL patients. According to the guidelines, physicians should identify, document, respect, and act on hospitals inpatients' needs, priorities, and preferences for EOL care. The guidelines advocate that competent patients express their right of self-determination in EOL care decisions through advance directives. However, there are barriers to adopting advance directives as a legitimate tool of EOL decision-making in our current society. The guidelines stressed the importance of open communication between care-givers and patients or their surrogates. Through communication, physicians can create a plan regarding how to manage EOL until the patients' last day of life. Concerted actions among the general public, professionals, other stake-holders for EOL care, and governmental organizations to improve EOL care in our society are also stipulated. Physicians, who know the clinical meaning of the treatments available to EOL patients, should play a central role based on the consensus guidelines to help patients and their families make informed decisions about EOL care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-757
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Korean Medical Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Consensus guideline
  • End-of-life care
  • System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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