“The law on the end of life must not be passed before the territory is covered with palliative resources”

“The law on the end of life must not be passed before the territory is covered with palliative resources”
“The law on the end of life must not be passed before the territory is covered with palliative resources”

LThe bill on assisted dying, currently debated in Parliament, is not unanimous among older people. It seeks to respond to the anguish of a minority of people who, sick or at the end of life, do not find the necessary relief from medicine or prefer to end it quickly, for fear of unbearable suffering. This is indeed understandable.

Read also | “Assistance in dying”: the end-of-life bill adopted in committee at the National Assembly

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This project also appeals to a segment of “young old people” who are still independent and in good health, who fear aging badly and dying badly, want to remain masters of their destiny. Inevitably, the older we get, the more we enter into “the brittle age”, to quote René Char, with its risks of fragility and dependence on others. Hence our concern about a law, passed without the agreement of caregivers, which would make the act of causing death “ultimate care”. A law that avoids blind spots and abuses, possible deviations, by not taking into account the diversity and especially the inequality of living conditions.

Why prefer to vote for a law on assisted suicide and euthanasia – we condemn the semantic perversion which consists of not naming things – rather than putting the necessary human and financial resources at the service of aging and dying with dignity? ? Why not demand that the Claeys-Leonetti law – which, in our opinion, allows us to respond to all fears of suffering before dying – be better known to the public and better applied by the medical profession? Why not demand, as requested by the National Consultative Ethics Committee, to first cover the French territory with palliative care structures, before considering going further?

See also (2023): Why a new law on end of life? Understand in three minutes

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The choice to integrate assisted suicide and euthanasia within a vast catch-all called “supportive care” appears to us to be a provocation. This is how it is perceived by the majority of doctors and caregivers, who have a different concept of “care” and know that the trust placed in them by their elderly patients will be undermined after the vote of this law. We know that training doctors in palliative care, implementing real pedagogy of the Claeys-Leonetti law, setting up hospital teams and intervening at home have a cost. Whereas a lethal injection will cost nothing.

Many inequalities

In a context of severe budget shortage, Mme Minister Catherine Vautrin is committed to closing the gap in access to palliative care before assistance in dying is voted on. What value does this word have in the face of the paltry amount of resources promised to develop this care over ten years? [le gouvernement a récemment annoncé un effort supplémentaire de 1,1 milliard d’euros sur la période] ? And how can we not note the contradiction between this promise and the fact that assisted dying will be voted on in 2025?

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