End of life: the Academy of Medicine in favor of assisted suicide

2023-07-17 13:56:54

The opinion of the National Academy of Medicine was awaited. In the name of the Hippocratic Oath, the body rules out the use of euthanasia but is in favor of an “exceptional” right to assisted suicide. This notice was published on Monday, July 17 under the name “Promoting a dignified and peaceful end of life: Responding to inhuman suffering and protecting the most vulnerable”.

Help to die as less badly as possible

In its report, the opinion of the National Academy of Medicine ensures that it takes “into account the will of the legislator to modify the current framework of the law on end of life “. In this context, it is keen to “respond to these situations of unrelieved torture of a life without hope, by adapting the current system in a framed manner by theopening of new rights to help die as less badly as possible, by exceptionally accepting assisted suicide, under imperative conditions”.

In addition, the body dismisses “euthanasia in view of its strong moral and symbolic significance, but also the fact that professionals and members of end-of-life support associations oppose it and fear this practice”.

Four imperative prerequisites

Throughout the text, the Academy of Medicine emphasizes that “ assisted suicide cannot be enough for a peaceful and dignified end of life that only competent and attentive support can provide, respectful of the patients’ requests and the expectations of their loved ones. Hence the imperative prerequisite of access to palliative care and mandatory initial and continuing training for all health professionals in order to ensure a continuum between curative and palliative care ».

If assisted suicide is recognized by the legislator, the Academy of Medicine lists four prerequisites:

  • a collegial assessment occurring upstream of any decision,
  • an exclusion of psychiatric illnesses,
  • the prior need for access to palliative care support,
  • and authorization and prescription without administration of the lethal product by doctors and caregivers.

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