BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: Consultant Surgeon Andrew Ready checks on his patients on the wards of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on June 9, 2006, in Birmingham, England. Kidney failure patient Carol Playfair was given the chance of life when her sister Tracey Playfair offered one of her own perfect kidneys to help save the life of Carol. The operation at The QE Hospital, part of The University Hospital's Trust was one of 1500 live donor transplants carried out in the United Kingdon every year. Despite the introduction of Donor Cards, there are still too few kidneys available to help all those who require a transplant, thereby producing a waiting list and the only chance of survival is by live donor. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(2006 Getty Images)
In Spain, those who have only months to live can now refuse medical treatment.
The Spanish government has approved a law that gives terminally ill patients the right to hasten their deaths by halting medical treatment.
Health Minister Leire Pajin said that the law would not affect bans on euthanasia or assisted suicide, which outlaw actions that lead to the deaths of those who otherwise would have lived.
Halting medical treatment in terminal cases is common practice in Spanish hospitals but was never explicitly permitted.
The bill must be approved by Parliament in the coming months.
Health officials said the law would apply only to those with months at most to live, and also grants the right to adequate palliative care.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.
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