On February 16, in response to Opinion 139 of the French National Consultative Committee on Ethics, thirteen organizations representing 800,000 French health workers published the document “Can causing death be considered care?”. In it, health workers (doctors, nurses, auxiliary nurses) denounce the current situation in France in reference to euthanasia. “In a moment in which the French health system is going through an uninterrupted series of crises, it seems an absolute priority to fill the flagrant lagoons in our care model”, it is stated in it.
This document was published after the election of 180 people, by the Macron government, to form a “citizen convention” in which to discuss assisted suicide, with the aim of “exploring all possible options.”
In the aforementioned debate to the question Should access to active aid in dying be opened?, 75% voted “yes” and 19% voted “no”. The process is of a consultative nature and the Macron government does not have to bind itself to its conclusions; however, the French president’s intentions on the matter are unknown, for the time being.
The document includes interprofessional ethical reflections on the prospects for the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia and its possible impact on care practices.
Quality palliative care
In addition, the signatory organizations ask to consider as a priority to significantly improve the framework of support for people at the end of life… without reducing its complexity to a social or political dialectic.
According to clinical experience and studies on this subject, there are several reasons behind the death request of patients, such as suffering, uncontrolled symptoms, persistent moral distress, the need to be better cared for or the possibility of regaining their power. of action and freedom.
The health personnel that make up these 13 organizations agree that these patients have “an ambivalent character and changeable will, especially as death approaches. With quality palliative care, the desire to die disappears in the vast majority of cases.”
The aforementioned document emphasizes the obligation to listen and decipher the true motivation that leads the patient to make the decision to end his life. Otherwise, “among the most significant repercussions that are expected are the abandonment of any individualization of care or the forgoing of a complex review of patient care in favor of a simpler alternative.”