Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sounds Like a Perfectly Reasonable Compromise on End-of-Life

Folks on the religious right argue strongly against 'assisted suicide' – there was much controversy a few months ago concerning this instance of a young woman with incurable brain cancer. There can be no question that such cases lead to incredibly difficult choices (such that I hope I never have to make).

Several US states allow for assisted suicide (a Wikipedia summary is here),

It seems to me that the law described in this article, recently passed by one house of France's parliament, would seem to meet the objections, since (assuming it is an accurate description) it does not hasten death, but merely offers palliation of pain:
France's lower house of parliament passed a bill on Tuesday allowing patients near the end of their lives to stop medical treatment and request deep sedation until they die, a move that critics say is effectively a form of euthanasia.The draft law, which polls show is backed by most French, passed in the lower house of parliament with 436 members voting in favor and 34 voting against. It is expected to get the final approval from the upper house in May or June.
I say that it would seem to meet the objections, but apparently it doesn't.
Allowing doctors to put patients within "hours or days" of their death under deep sedation until they die, as the law foresees, differs only from euthanasia in that precise time of death cannot be determined, they argue.
I fear that those folks can't be satisfied with anything short of a death that is as nasty, prolonged, and painful as possible.


  1. Here is a 9 page -- apparently nuanced - article which offers apparently well thought out suggestions for evaluating and compassionately treating patients in imminent end-of-life situations.

    A law merely permitting "go to sleep" drugs for the terminally ill (if not well nuanced) is open to abuse.

    But perhaps some hospitals/hospices do not have effective well thought out end of life care programs OR they do not effectively communicate the options to patients/their families and people suffer needless pain. Apparently there are real options out there ... now.

    If accurate, this article offers suggestions for a very adjustable end-of-life care and pain management program. It seems to be also relying on knowledge, experiences of nurses, and possiblyof nurse practitioners -- who probably spend much much more time observing and actually caring for the patient than doctors.

  2. Thanks, Vanessa, I'll read that when I get a moment (well, a few moments :) ).

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