As reported by China News on July 4, the 10th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 7th Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress recently voted to approve the revised draft of the “Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Medical Regulations.” 

Article 78 is related to “end-of-life decision-making rights,” creating a breakthrough in law. The law allows a patient to give an instruction “not to do unnecessary rescue” in advance. Instead, the hospital should respect the patient’s wishes and let the patient pass their final time in peace.

Shenzhen has become the country’s first region to implement Living Wills legislation.

A Living Will is a document that patients sign beforehand when they are conscious. It states what kind of medical care is or is not required at the end of an incurable disease or severe trauma that cannot be treated.

The new legislation is a boon for dying patients who cannot bear the pain of an excessive rescue attempt. As the patient reaches the final stages of life, personal wishes are difficult to express and even more difficult to respect. 

Especially when various catheters are inserted into the patient’s body, limiting communication ability, patients can’t express their thoughts. Even if the patient suffers from excessive rescue, he can only passively endure it until death. 

With a living will, it is different. 

Patients can make arrangements in advance about whether to adopt traumatic rescue measures such as intubation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation or the use of a life support system. In addition, living wills are legally valid, and their doctors and family members cannot change them.

Li Ying, the chairman of Shenzhen Living Will Promotion Association, believes that when we face the last moments of life, it is essential to make arrangements for our death. It shows our attitude toward being responsible for our own life. Each of us will benefit from the living will at the end of the day.

This revision has attracted public concern.

A netizen comments this is excellent progress in society.

Another says that Shenzhen is indeed at the forefront this time. It is the original intention of the legislation to reduce the suffering of severely ill people. However, it is advisable to pay attention to supervision and not let the law be abused in disguised form.

Some echo that the torture of sickness will make the patient lose their dignity, so he supports this decision. However, it also needs legal supervision to avoid abuse.

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