South Korean high court upholds 'right to die' ruling | world | Hindustan Times
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South Korean high court upholds 'right to die' ruling

world Updated: Feb 11, 2009 05:18 IST
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A South Korean appellate court today upheld a lower court's verdict allowing a comatose patient to die by being taken off a respirator, saying she has the right to die with dignity.

In November, a Seoul district court ordered the city's Severance Hospital to disconnect the now 77-year-old woman who had spent several months on a life support system.

The decision -- the first of its kind in South Korea -- sided with the woman's family members who filed a lawsuit after doctors refused to take her off the machine.

Severance Hospital later appealed the ruling to the Seoul High Court, saying the decision may lead people to "take life too lightly."

Today, Seoul High Court Judge Lee In-bok said in a ruling the court concluded it was possible to stop the extension of the patient's life in view of her individual dignity, according to court spokesman Park Hyung-joon.

Severance Hospital has two weeks to appeal the case to the Supreme Court after it receives Tuesday's written ruling, Park said.

Hospital spokesman Lee Sung-man said Severance officials planned to hold a meeting to determine whether to appeal.

The patient, identified by her family name Kim, has been in a persistent vegetative state since suffering brain damage in February last year.