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What are the differences between the law in force and the opinion of the ethics committee?

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Yasmina Kattou, edited by Gauthier Delomez
06:08, September 14, 2022

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This Tuesday, the National Ethics Committee issued an expected opinion on the end of life: it considers it possible to go further than the Claeys-Leonetti law currently in force. On Europe 1, the president of the French palliative care society believes that this opinion of the committee slices ethically.

The National Ethics Committee considers it possible to go further than the Claeys-Leonetti law currently in force. In an opinion issued on Tuesday, he does not rule out the establishment of active assistance in dying, and he warns that any progress must be made in compliance with strict conditions. In reality, this advisory committee says it is open to active assistance in dying for patients whose vital prognosis is committed in the medium term. Euthanasia or assisted suicide, two practices prohibited in France, could be authorized.

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For the moment, the text is based on the accompaniment of a patient whose vital prognosis is engaged in the short term until his death thanks to deep sedation. Clearly, the treatments are stopped, the patient is asleep and painkillers are administered to him until the end.

Leave the choice to healthcare professionals

The opinion of the Committee decides on the ethical level according to Claire Fourcade, doctor and president of the French society of palliative care. “In one setting, the objective is to relieve, in the other, it is to kill. So the difference is there”, she presses at the microphone of Europe 1. For her, “the question that will arise for our society is that of people who want to die, people who are still suffering from a serious and incurable disease and who could decide to anticipate their death. This is what makes the difference with the current law .”

The Committee recommends leaving the choice to health professionals. If they refuse a patient’s request for assistance in dying, they will be obliged to refer the patient to another doctor.

Source: Europe1

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