Saturday, August 25, 2007

More Singaporeans Willing
To Let Docs Pull The Plug

SINGAPORE, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Singaporeans are becoming more receptive to the idea of signing living wills indicating that they do not want their lives artificially prolonged should they become unconscious while terminally ill, local media reported.

In the first half of this year, a total of 1,429 people signed the Advance Medical Directive (AMD) to indicate their wishes should they come to such a stage, reported The Straits Times.

In the past two years, 3,486 signed the AMD, as compared to 2,512, who did so over an eight-year period since 1997.

Most of the people who signed the will to let the doctor pull the plug are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, the report said.

Singapore Health Ministry launched a series of campaign since early this year encouraging Singaporeans to make an AMD.

The report quoted Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan as saying that "because you don't talk about it, by the time patients are dying or not able to express themselves, the burden is left to family members."

As part of the campaign, the ministry distributed booklets in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil to all hospitals and clinics to explain about AMD.

Inside the booklet are AMD forms and a prepaid envelope to make it easier for Singaporeans to send the forms to the registrar of AMDs.

According to the Health Ministry, AMD is voluntary and is not euthanasia or "mercy killing", explaining that euthanasia is a deliberate ending of the life of a person suffering from an incurable and painful disease by unnatural means, such as the administration of lethal chemicals.

"An AMD acts as advanced instruction for your doctor not to prolong your life with extraordinary life-sustaining treatment, and to let the dying process take its natural course when you become terminally ill and unconscious," said the ministry in its website.

Singaporeans aged 21 and above can make an AMD by filling up a form, sign it in the presence of two witnesses, one of them a doctor, and send it to the registrar of AMDs.

The AMD form is free but a person may have to pay the doctor whom he or she needs to consult before signing the AMD.



I wonder if LKY supports this campaign. Singaporeans should find out about it. Or, is it not possible that even the Health Minister himself dare not and has not sign the AMD? In Malaysia, we have a description for such an act – cakap tak serupa bikin!!!

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