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S. Korean court backs end-of-life plea

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A family's request to cease all medical assistance to a 75-year-old woman in a persistent vegetative state should be granted, a South Korean court has ruled.

Seoul Western District Court ruled Friday that the woman, identified only with the surname Kim, should be taken off life support and have her feeding tube removed as per the family's request, the Yonhap News Agency said.

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Judge Kim Cheon-su found that the chances of recovery for the woman were zero, meaning her consent for a denial of life support could be inferred. Kim has been in a coma since February, when she sustained cerebral damage during a lung examination.

"Considering her hopeless state, the expected years left in her life and her current age, it is assumed that Ms. Kim would have expressed her intent to die a natural death with the life support removed rather than remain in her current condition," the judge said.

The judge's ruling was unexpected given the fact it marked the first time in South Korea that a removal of life support has been legally approved, the report said. The fact the removal of life support was supported without the patient's consent made the ruling particularly ground-breaking, Yonhap said.

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