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Concerns about Death: Euthanasia
  • By Kim Su-gyeong, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2022.04.10 23:17
  • 호수 303
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▲ Alain Delon, who chooses Euthanasia (Source: Yonhap News)

In Korea, Euthanasia is illegal. Euthanasia is divided into two subgroups: Active Euthanasia and Passive Euthanasia. Active Euthanasia, is the active way to lead to ones death that occurs when a doctor injects a drug into a patient. Passive Euthanasia, is the way to lead to ones death when a doctor stops the patient’s life extending treatment(s) with the patient’s family’s consent. Of these, Death with Dignity, part of Passive Euthanasia, is legal in Korea under the condition that furthering the patient’s medical treatment is rendered meaningless to their quality of life. In Korea, not only Euthanasia but also assisting someone to lead to their death, should be punished by the crime of commission murder and assisting a suicide. However, Assisted Suicide is legal in Switzerland. Recently, Euthanasia is becoming an issue again, because of the report that the famous actor, ‘Alain Delon,’, who is in favour of Euthanasiaand has even moved to Switzerland, chooses Euthuanasia.

Alain Delon was born in France in 1935, and debuted as an actor in 1957. The movie, ‘Purple Noon,’ catapulted him to world stardom, winning the Palme d’Or Award at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2019. Alain Delon’s Euthanasia choice was demonstrated by his son, Anthony Delon’s interview in the media of France. Anthony Delon said, “Father’s choiceof Euthanasia is true. He asked me to stay on his deathbed when he will decide the time ofhis death” Alain Delon has been living in Switzerland after a stroke surgery, and he said, “I'm living in Switzerland, not France which treats Euthanasia as illegal,” in French media last year. In addition, he said, “If I am faced with the moment that I must choose Euthanasia, I’ll choose it without reservation.” If Alain Delon chooses Euthanasia, there is no legal problem as a dual citizen of both France and Switzerland. The choice of Alain Delon’s Euthanasia was interperted to be influenced by his exwife, Nathalie Delon’s. Nathalie Delon died of pancreatic cancer in January of last year. She also asked for Euthanasia, however, it was unfulfiled,due to it’s illegality in France.

Switzerland, the country in which Alain Delon is living now, treats Euthanasia as illegal. Thelegal action in Switzerland is, ‘Assisted Suicide’. Actually, ‘Dignitas’, which is located in Switzerland, is a nonprofit organization, which consults with people who ask for Assisted Suicide,while supporting their Assisted Suicide decision. The word, ‘Assisted Suicide,’ means: death by other people’s help. Unlike Active Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, assists patients to their death by taking drugs themselves. For this, there are some comments about Alain Delon, now living in Switzerland, choosing Assisted Suicide, not Euthanasia.

In Korea, recently, a woman in her 40s, who helped her cancer suffering acquaintance to commit suicide, was sentenced to two and half years in the first trial, however, her sentence was reduced in her second trial. The deciding role of her reduced sentence was victim’s suicide note, which contained, “I asked her a big favor. She is a victim, too,” and asked for leniency from the victim’s family. After the victim suffered so much that she couldn't urinate after her ovarian cancer diagnosis, she said to her acquaintance, "I can't live because it hurts. Please kill me," she appealed. It turned out that the defendant (a woman in her 40s) helped the victim die. In Korea, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are illegal, however, it has been revealed that the sentence has been reduced in the case of Assisted Suicide, and there are reports that the threshold of the domestic Euthanasia law is lowering.

"We can't choose to be born, but we can choose to be the last." This is what a woman in her 80s, who registered with the Swiss Assisted Suicide Organization, "Dignitas," five years ago, said. Whether humans can choose to die has been a sensational topic for a long time now. This has also led to religious issues, causing global controversy. In addition, the legal and illegal lines are divided according to how a person dies, with the level of sentencing varying. Many countries, including Korea, do not allow Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide. However, as some countries begin to allow Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, it will be important to establish values for Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide on your own terms. Therefore, we need to think about the question of how it is appropriate to die as a human being, as a member of the world, and whether humans can choose to die.

By Kim Su-gyeong, cub-reporter  tnrud2824@naver.com

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