End of life law: 16 health organizations reiterate that “putting to death” is not a medical competence

While Parliament should resume session next week, to examine the end of life law, in a climate far from being consensual, 16 health organizations reaffirmed by a collective position statement that “putting to death is in no manner whatsoever a competence of health professionals”.

The holding of a combined joint commission (7 deputies and 7 senators who have the responsibility for finding a common version of the text) is announced for Tuesday January 19, 2016, with a strong chance of failure according to observers. The modifications contributed by the Senate, which aimed to mitigate the dangers of legalizing hidden forms of euthanasia, confirm that the text includes grey areas and that the consensus sought for by the government and the two rapporteurs Leonetti and Claeys has significantly withered away.

This unprecedented standpoint, by major actors in health care and accompaniment for end of life, underlines the weaknesses in this text. These dangers are enflamed with the potential appointment of Dr. Véronique Fournier to the head of the newly created, National Center of palliative care and the end of life. The SFAP, (French Society of Accompaniment and Care) expresses concerns, notably, in their January 8, 2016 announcement, about “a figure who on the one hand, has no practical experience in palliative care, and on the other hand, supports views in favor of decriminalizing euthanasia.”

This firm reminder of the medical mission surrounding the accompaniment at the end of life by these key professionals is of major importance for warding off all hidden attempts of interpretations of euthanasia in the legal text.

This confirms the alerts and demonstrations of the Group Relieve suffering without killing, of which Alliance VITA is a member.

 

List of the organizations signing

  • National Order of Nurses
  • French Association for Oncology Care and Support
  • National Association for Geriatrics and Private Practice Gerontologists
  • Convergence of Caring Caretakers
  • French Federation of Associations of Doctors Coordinating Retirement Homes
  • Fight against Cancer League
  • French Society for Accompaniment and Palliative Care
  • French Society for Study and Treatment of Pain
  • French Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • French Society of General Medicine
  • French Society of Psycho-Oncology
  • Society for Revitalization of the French Language
  • National Union of Professional Nurses
  • Up until death, accompany life
  • Association of the little brothers of the Poor
  • National Union of Associations for the development of Palliative Care
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