In February, in response to Opinion 139 of the National Ethics Advisory Council of France, thirteen organizations representing 800,000 French health workers rejected euthanasia, including doctors, nurses, auxiliary nurses. They published the document “Can causing death be considered care?”, which denounces the current situation in France in reference to euthanasia.
“At a time when the French health system is going through an uninterrupted series of crises, it seems an absolute priority to fill the glaring gaps in our care model,” it is stated in it.
800,000 French health professionals reject euthanasia
This letter arose after the election by the Macron government of 180 people to be part of a “citizen convention” to discuss assisted suicide, with the aim of “exploring all possible options.”
In the aforementioned debate, when asked, “Should we open access to active help for death?, 75% voted “yes” and 19% voted “no”. The process is consultative in nature and the Macron government does not have to be linked to its conclusions; however, the intentions of the French president in this regard are unknown for now.
The document includes interprofessional ethical reflections on the prospects for the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia and its possible impact on care practices.
Quality Palliative Care
In addition, the signatory organizations ask that it be considered a “priority” to significantly improve the support framework for people at the end of life… without reducing its complexity to a social or political dialectic.
According to clinical experience and studies on this subject, there are several reasons behind patients’ request for death, such as “uncontrolled symptoms, persistent moral anguish, request for help, recognition of suffering, need for better care, or the possibility to recover a power of action, transgression and freedom”.
The health personnel that make up these 13 organizations agree that these patients have “an ambivalent character and changeable will, especially as death approaches. With quality palliative care, the desire to die disappears in the vast majority of cases.”
The aforementioned document emphasizes the obligation to listen and decipher the true motivation that leads the patient to make the decision to end their lives. Otherwise, “among the most significant repercussions that are expected are the abandonment of any individualization of care or the forgoing of a complex review of patient care in favor of a simpler alternative.“