[Press Release] Coronavirus: Elderly at Greater Risk of Discrimination and Euthanasia

Alliance VITA warns that serious ethical transgressions are looming over many elderly individuals during these unforeseen circumstances of contamination, confinement, lack of medical equipment and personnel, and diminishing capacity of hospital resuscitation units.

Alliance VITA, informed by its listeners of the SOS End of Life listening service, as well as by a large number of caregivers, members of its teams and its medical experts, alerts about this serious situation. The elderly, who were already facing loneliness, are now isolated and defenseless, in danger of having their dignity trampled upon and even threatened with losing their lives.

Due to insufficient experience and training of some doctors, multiple sedation protocols are hastily implemented, based solely on age, and neglecting any endeavors for treatment. This is equivalent to discrimination, a denial of appropriate healthcare which can end up in a form of euthanasia.

Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s General Delegate, founder of the SOS End-of-Life and author of “The Battle of Euthanasia” (Salvator Editions) declares:

 “We all realize that the pandemic is making even worse the already worrisome situation for many elderly people, and not merely those in nursing homes. Indeed, it is outrageous that their deaths are not even counted in the COVID-19 death statistics. Are seniors to be considered as sub-citizens, whose lives no longer count? This is suggested by some statements. The high number of deaths observed in many nursing homes is just as sad as for other population groups. Their caregivers lament that screening tests are being rationed (maximum 3 per establishment), they are denied access to hospitals and healthcare and in some cases to ventilators (with no remedial or prophylactic treatment proposed).

On the one hand, many caregivers in nursing homes are being heroic, such as those who have chosen to remain confined with the residents, or who compensate, by extending their hours, to comfort the distress of these isolated individuals. Nonetheless, we want to warn against the genuine temptation of euthanasia. It is especially during such difficult times, that ethics for medical care must be fully respected. ”

Alliance VITA requests for the public authorities to include the elderly in the COVID-19 death statistics, to screen all citizens regardless of age, and to repeat that all individuals, of all ages, have a right to healthcare treatment without being killed.

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