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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Thai law allows those suffering to take steps to end their lives


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Thailand has not legalised euthanasia or assisted suicide like other countries but there is Section 12 in the National Health Act that allows a person to make a “living will in writing” to pass away naturally and peacefully, Medical Council secretarygeneral Dr Itthaporn Kanachareon said yesterday.

It is highly unlikely that Thailand would introduce legalised euthanasia for many reasons, including concern over which diseases should be deemed necessary for euthanasia and the life insurance system, he commented.

Thailand only has an allowance in Section 12 for a person to make a “living will in writing” to refuse resuscitation or medical treatments that would only prolong his/her terminal state of life. Such action would end that person’s severe suffering from illness and must be abided by all relevant parties, including relatives and the doctor, he said. Only a few people had used such a right, he added.

Itthaporn’s comment followed news circulating on social media about a Thai man in his 40s who reportedly had an incurable brain tumor that caused him great suffering over the past decade. He travelled to a clinic in Switzerland to seek voluntary euthanasia and duly passed away on March 1.

The doctor said euthanasia was legal in some European countries and some states in the USA but could only be done according to the law and regulations in that country. “There is also a clear condition about who can get such service, not just anybody can do it,” he said.

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