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Taiwan Promotes Rejection of Futile Medical Treatment

Yesterday, the Taiwan Alliance for Healthcare Excellence teamed up with 19 health groups nationwide to promote rejection of futile medical treatment for terminally ill patients.  (Taiwan Today)

“Patients can only die peacefully when medical teams help family members let go in the face of death, rejecting further pointless treatment,” TAHE President Lien Jui-meng said.  Huang Sheng-jean, superintendent of National Taiwan University Hospital’s Jinshan branch, said futile medical care serves only to protract the process of dying. “It’s unethical and will not enhance the satisfaction of family members nor reduce medical malpractice suits.”  According to former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang, out of annual National Health Insurance expenses of NT$500 billion (US$16.8 billion), NT$170 billion is used for futile care. He suggested that choosing palliative care would provide better treatment for patients and cut medical expenditures.  

A separate new story reports that “medical teams will hold two one-hour sessions with relatives when decisions need to be made about the final stage of life related to terminally ill patients. The more relatives and close family members come to understand the medical teams’ explanations, the less likely medical disputes will occur.”  Taiwan News (quoting Huang Sheng-jean).

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