Advance Medical Directive Act

In Forms:

In Forms:

In Forms:

In Forms:

Introduction to AMD Act

An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) is a legal document that you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you (in the event you become terminally ill and unconscious) that you do not want any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment 1 to be used to prolong your life.

Making an AMD is a voluntary decision. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to make one. In fact, it is a criminal offence for any person to force you to make one against your will.

New advances in medical knowledge and technology create new choices for both patients and health care providers. Some of these choices raise new ethical and legal issues.

One issue is that modern medical technology can technically prolong life in the final stages of a terminal illness2. However, it cannot stop the dying process. In such situations, further medical intervention would be medically ineffective, and a decision has to be made whether to withdraw such futile medical intervention. Some terminally ill persons who are unable to express their wishes at that time, may want to be spared further suffering and be allowed to die naturally, in peace and with dignity.

The law in Singapore allows Singaporeans who wish to make an advance medical directive to do so. The AMD Act was passed in Parliament in May 1996.

Advance Medical Directive (AMD) Act

1 "Extraordinary life-sustaining treatment" is any medical treatment which serves only to prolong the process of dying for terminally ill patients but does not cure the illness. An example is the respirator that is connected to a patient to assist him/her to breathe. It serves only to artificially prolong the life of a terminally ill patient.

2 "Terminal illness" is defined in the Act as an incurable condition caused by injury or disease from which there is no reasonable prospect of a temporary or permanent recovery. For such a condition, death is imminent even if extraordinary life-sustaining measures were used. These measures would only serve to postpone the moment of death for the patient.