Petition in France by the 'National Union of Associations of the Families of sufferers of Cranial Trauma or cerebral lesions' (UNAFTC)1

On September 18, 2015 [in France], the National Union of Associations of Families of sufferers of Cranial Trauma or cerebral lesions1 (UNAFTC) published an open letter to Jean Leonetti which they sent to all house representatives.

This letter expresses concerns about the proposition of MP’s Claeys and Leonetti “which creates new rights for the ill at the end of life”. This proposition returns soon for second reading before the National Assembly: first of all with the Commission for social affairs on September 30, then in a public sitting on October 5-6, 2015. This text, adopted in the first reading by the National Assembly, and subsequently rejected by the Senate, could authorise medical teams, under certain conditions, to end the life of persons in a relational state of minimal consciousness (pauci-relational) 2.

It is this “flaw” in the text, “illustrated perfectly by the Lambert affair”, that worries Emeric Guillermou, the UNAFTC president.

On September 23, the UNAFCT also launched a petition, titled “NO to imposed death”, demanding that family members or loved ones caring for someone who is pauci-relational should be fully involved in making decisions. It stated:

“Death by stopping feeding and hydration cannot be imposed on the family of the person incapable of expressing his/her own wish. (…) The Lambert Affair shows us that the current law permits a doctor to take this initiative. We think that such a decision affects the very meaning of life, and is not strictly medical; whereas the current law confers on him the power to decide this and even to impose it. We demand that the recommendation of the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) be applied, in its note on the Lambert affair to the State Council: the CCNE considers it desirable to set up a real process of deliberation and of collective decision, allowing to bring out, on a case by case analysis, with a full knowledge of the uncertainty, the best possible answer in the radical uniqueness of each situation”.

To sign the petition on line: click here

For further reading:

– Article by Jean-Yves Nau on non-responding persons or persons in pauci-relational state: the 1500 Vincent Lamberts that no-one talks about;

– Website of the UNAFTC: http://www.traumacranien.org

– Facebook page of the UNAFTC

– State of needs and propositions of the UNAFTC for the accompaniment of persons suffering from cranial trauma and their families, June 2010 : UNAFTC Government Plan

Translator’s notes:

1National Association of Families of Cranial Trauma or cerebral lesion sufferers” would sound good in Britain, but in France ‘Association’ has a very precise meaning, hence need for “union of associations” in France.

state of minimal consciousness 2 sometimes called, pauci-relational state”

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