End-of-Life Care in Taiwan from the Perspectives of Asian Bioethics


  • Michael Cheng-tek Tai


The aging population is a new reality in the world. Asian countries are facing the question of how to take care of their senile citizens who, when younger, have contributed much to society yet are now needing more medical attention and therefore are consuming a big portion of the health care budget. How to extend care to this growing number of citizens is a new social issue. This paper will first give a brief discussion of a new legislation adopted in Taiwan on December 18, 2015, named the Patient Self-determination Act, which allows patients suffering from incurable diseases or those in their last phase of life to say no to life sustaining treatments. Medicine, however, is supposed to save life, which raises a question: would this new legislation violate the principle of medical ethics? This paper will then discuss this act from the perspective of Asian bioethics. Humanization and harmonization are the two main emphases of Asian bioethics.

Author Biography

Michael Cheng-tek Tai

Program Manager, Latin American Division of Women’s Equality Program, Wyss Foundation M.A., United Nations University for Peace, International Law and Settlement of Disputes LL.M, Georgetown University Law School, Global Health Law