Alliance VITA believes the government’s new public awareness campaign for the end-of-life attests to the widening differences between the new law and problems surrounding this issue in France.
In Alliance Vita’s opinion, the campaign launched on Monday and supervised by the National Center for Palliative Care:
-does not truly address the subject matter since it presents an outrageously simplified answer to a complex issue.
– contributes to the amalgam of deep sedation and euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s General Delegate and founder of the crisis center and website “sos end-of-life”: (sosfindevie) states:
« Unfortunately we are not surprised by this amalgam since Véronique Fournier, whose organization managed this campaign, is adept at what she qualifies as “palliative euthanasia”.
Neither the government’s duplicate form for advance directives, nor its promotion of deep and continuous sedation until death are a fitting manner, likely help either patients, their care-takers or their families. Each individual case for the end-of-life is difficult and requires a daily personalized evaluation. We note the official message is heretofore focused on prior advance directives and the recent concept of “deep and continuous sedation until death’. As if these last two points could somehow resolve the end-of-life issue in France. As if someone needs to make French citizens who have not yet signed their advance directives feel guilty. How can one imagine asking healthy individuals to decide now on the issue of terminal sedation? Why let people believe that terminal sedation is a miracle solution in case of a serious problem?
The risk of this practice -which must remain exceptional –since it eliminates any conscience decision – is that it trivializes the situation, by pretending that individuals have the right to “sleep before dying”.
This would exempt society from searching for solutions and providing real efforts needed to accompany those at the end of life: accessibility of palliative care, training for caregivers, pain management, accompanying patients who suffer morally, socially and spiritually, choosing the place to finish one’s life, accessibility of caregivers, encouraging volunteers to accompany terminally-ill people, etc.
We have already observed the prevailing concept looming in some hospitals that it is legal to sedate someone to die. It is family members and caregivers themselves who are tempted to request this.
Confronted with the risk of « hidden euthanasia » the only solution is to provide genuine accompaniment while maintaining their consciousness as long as possible in order to respect their personal freedom and dignity at the end-of-life.”
To help reassure the French public and shed light on a confusing issue, Alliance VITA and its SOS end-of-life service decided to edit a brochure on advance directives which respects medical ethics and denounces both euthanasia and unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy: this is the guiding principle for the charter and the customizable form that it contains.
Since public authorities have decided to impose their ambiguous viewpoint on the end of life, VITA will edit a document so the French may protect themselves and their families from the emerging amalgams.
In the coming weeks, our association will launch an awareness campaign with communication tools for the benefit of all.