Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2010 Jun;13(2):81-88.

Attitude of Korean Lawyers toward Withdrawal of Life Sustaining Treatment

  • 1Department of Nursing, Koje College, Geoje, Korea.
  • 2Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. bhkim@hanyang.ac.kr
  • 3Research Center for Health & Welfare, Institute for Self-Government, Seongnam, Korea.


This study was conducted to study the attitude of Korean lawyers toward withdrawal of life sustaining treatment, and compare and analyze different types of their attitudes.
Research design of this project was Q methodology approach. The study population was 24 lawyers, aged from 32 to 69 years. Q sample to investigate the attitude of the lawyers toward withdrawal of life sustaining treatment included 34 statements obtained from literatures, TV debate, and depth interviews of 5 lawyers among the lawyers included. After listening to the purpose and method of the study, the 24 lawyers agreed to fill out a survey asking sociodemographic information, and the information was distributed in 9 scale Q-sample.
The collected data were processed through QUANL PC program and sorted into 5 types as follows: The first type was 'Choosing to withdraw life sustaining treatment', the second 'Withholding life sustaining treatment' regardless of the cost, the third is neutral type that claims that humans have the right to decide the death and life, and demands the proper legalization to protect such rights, the fourth type agrees to withdrawal of life sustaining treatment, nevertheless, admits that one has a rigt to withhold one's own life treatment, categorized as self contradiction type. The fifth type believed that 'Life and death are providential' with the faith, therefore, such authority to decide life and death belongs to God, but not human beings.
In conclusion, the lawyer's attitudes toward withdrawal of life sustaining treatment were grouped into five different types as follows: 'Choosing to withdraw life sustaining treatment', 'Withholding life sustaining treatment', 'Demanding legalization', 'Self contradiction type', and 'Life and death are providential'.


Withholding treatment; Lawyers; Q-sort; Nursing methodology research

MeSH Terms

Human Rights
Nursing Methodology Research
Research Design
Withholding Treatment
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