[Press Release] End-of-Life: Utmost Vigilance for Highly Dependent Patients


Today, the French Constitutional Counsel ruled on three articles in the Public Health Code which had been contested by the National Union of Associations for Families with members with brain damage and cranial trauma: “UNAFTC”.

This association submitted a preliminary issue of constitutionality to the Constitutional Counsel to emphasize the loopholes in the law, especially when the patient concerned can no longer speak.

Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s General Delegate is also spokesperson for the Relieve Suffering without Killing movement, which reacted against misinterpretations in the February 2, 2016 law on end-of-life, which could lead to euthanasia.

 “The tenacity of the UNAFTC which defends brain-damaged patients against arbitrary decisions which do not respect their lives or their dignity is perfectly understandable. The association was precluded from participating in the latest parliamentary debates, whereas their presence and their viewpoints would have been beneficial. Since the new end-of-life law also deals with the care of highly dependent brain-damaged patients, the concern of their loved ones is legitimate.

There has been a large information campaign to persuade most people that individuals in vegetative state or minimal consciousness are not worthy of care or attention. This attitude could lead to endorsing permanent sedation and stopping artificial feeding and hydration. Without openly naming it, this is a form of euthanasia. This procedure would completely undermine our national solidarity at the bedsides of our most vulnerable citizens, and all the work and love of professionals and their families towards these highly dependent patients.  

We are opposed to any disproportionate treatment, yet we are extremely cautious because we do not want people to believe that the caretakers are the ones who can decide weather a patient should live or die. And such a decision of life or death is not to be taken by the loved ones either because such a choice would be inhuman. According to the Medical Code of Ethics which forbids both disproportionate treatment and euthanasia, every single patient always remains worthy: worthy to be loved and cared for.”  

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