South Korea said Tuesday that it will conduct a survey of inpatient care centers to question whether patients’ personal consent was taken into account prior to hospitalization.
The measure comes in the wake of numerous reports on forced hospitalization during family inheritance disputes after crimes motivated by revenge.
The government approved the revision of the Habeas Corpus Act in a Cabinet meeting in an apparent effort to improve patients’ rights at inpatient facilities such as psychiatric clinics, nursing homes and facilities for people with disabilities.
Under the revision, the Ministry of Justice will examine whether patients at the clinics have been legally detained, and whether hospital officials are aware of a patient’s legal right to request to be discharged.
If required, the ministry officials can also ask for documents related to patients’ treatment and counseling sessions.
The revision also allows patients’ families and legal representatives appointed by patients to request a hospital discharge. If clinics transfer patients after a discharge is requested, they are required to obtain court consent to do so.
The government said facilities that refused the audit or move patients without a court agreement may face penalties.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)