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Thailand: Procedure for Refusal of Treatment by Terminally Ill

(Aug. 28, 2009) The Thai press reported on August 21, 2009, that the country's National Health Commission Office had approved a draft directive addressing terminally ill patients' right to refuse treatment that only prolongs life. The document prescribes how such patients can write a letter of intent declining the treatment. Before the draft directive can take effect, it must be approved by the Cabinet and then published in the ROYAL GAZETTE. (National Health Commission Approves Draft Directive to Allow Patients to Choose to Die, THE NATION, Aug. 21, 2009, available at

Under article 12 of Thailand's National Health Act of 2007, a patient has the right to make a living will, in writing, to refuse public health services “provided merely to prolong his/her terminal stage of life” or to make a living will to refuse such treatment in order to end severe suffering from illness (para. 1). The article further states that the rules and procedures regulating the living will are to be set forth in a ministerial regulation (para. 2). In addition, it releases public health personnel from liability for acts done in compliance with the living will (para. 3). (15/05/2008: A Right to Die, National Health Commission Office of Thailand website, May 15, 2008, [conduct search]; National Health Act, B.E. 2550 (A.D. 2007) [issued on Mar. 3, 2007, and in force on Mar. 19, 2007, with corrigendum issued on Mar. 26, 2007], National Health Commission Office of Thailand website, (last visited Aug. 25, 2009).]