President Tsai meets with Fu Da-ren

President Tsai Ing-wen, right, meets with renowned sports news anchor Fu Da-ren at the Presidential Office on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. The president said that she wanted to use the occasion to send her warm regards and encouragement to Fu and his family. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday met with renowned sports news anchor Fu Da-ren (傅達仁), saying that she wanted to use the occasion to send her warm regards and encouragement to Fu and his family.

Fu has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and given four to six months to live. He recently traveled to Switzerland with his family where he was accepted at a clinic to undergo euthanasia.

The 84-year-old Fu returned to Taiwan on Nov. 18 and wrote on his Facebook the next day that he canceled the second interview with his physician to decide when and how the procedure would be performed.

In the Facebook post with a photo of him and his son Fu Chun-hao (傅俊豪) embracing, Fu Da-ren said that thinking about his son made him change his decision to end his life with the assistance of the clinic.

On Monday night, Tsai posted on Facebook photos of her receiving Fu Da-ren and his family at the Presidential Office earlier that day and said that she asked her staff to arrange the meeting with Fu a few days ago.

In Tsai’s post, she said she told Fu and his family that respect for patients’ autonomy and hospice palliative care for the terminally ill are principles the government is working to uphold, citing the Patient Autonomy Rights Act that will take effect at the beginning of 2019.

The law allows patients to exercise autonomy through advance directives regarding preferences for medical care in the event they are too ill to make such decisions. The patients can ask that the directives be followed under certain circumstances.

Tsai said the law would enable the terminally ill to die with dignity.

During the meeting, Tsai said she saw that Fu was resolute in defending the dignity of life while she noticed he frequently turned to look at his wife and son.

Tsai said she told Fu many people couldn’t bear to see him having to make a such a difficult decision, adding that she hoped her meeting with the family would offer them encouragement.

By Shih Hsiu-chuan