this modification of the proposed law which arouses great fears

this modification of the proposed law which arouses great fears

The government’s text on the end of life modified by the commission arrives at the Palais-Bourbon this Monday afternoon for two weeks of debate. A modification by deputies on the “vital prognosis” of patients is particularly talked about.

The bill aimed at legalizing active assistance in dying arrives in plenary session at the National Assembly this Monday, May 27, 2024. It has just been revised by the special commission on the text on the end of life, arousing among some serious concerns about the inclusion of other patients previously excluded from the framework to benefit from active assistance in dying. The latest version, modified by the committee, will serve as a basis for discussion by deputies. The latter now have two weeks, until June 11, to adopt a text at first reading.

Vital prognosis “in advanced or terminal phase”

According to the bill, modified by the committee, a person must be “sick, suffering from a serious and incurable illness, in an advanced or terminal phase” to benefit from assistance in dying. But that’s not all. Any psychological suffering” could be necessary, “refractory to treatment” or “unbearable” and “related to the illness”. In addition, the person concerned must be able to “express their will in a free and informed manner” at each time. step of the process.

Recently, a change particularly attracted the attention of Agnès Firmin-Le Bodo, president of the special commission. This is the vital prognosis “engaged in the medium or short term”. For her, “the original balance has been broken” she regrets in Opinion. The commission replaced the “vital prognosis engaged in the short or medium term” with the notion “in the advanced or terminal phase”.

Olivier Falorni regrets an “inconsistency in the text”

Could this modification include a larger number of patients, some of whom are not at the end of life? Absolutely not for Olivier Falorni, rapporteur of the commission: “This text responds to two fundamentals, developing and strengthening palliative care and allowing a last resort, assistance in dying. The commission took up the exact wording made by the Ministry of Health. health which spoke of the need for a serious and terminal illness in an advanced or terminal phase to have access to assisted dying” he indicates on franceinfo this Monday.

He continues: “The government explains what a serious illness is: an illness with a life-threatening prognosis for the person. The notion no longer appears in the text.” This is why, according to him, “it is undoubtedly necessary to reintroduce it. Today, the challenge is to make an applicable law which will be applied. The procedure for access to assistance in dying has not almost not changed, the principle is self-administration, if the patient is not able to do so, he can resort to a doctor, a nurse or a third party. On the other hand, he regrets an “inconsistency in the text which will have to be resolved in session in the hours and days to come”.

Psychological suffering, largely forgotten in the text?

If the vital prognosis term “in the advanced or terminal phase” is the central point of contention, it is far from being the only one. Another modification of the text, the right to assistance in dying can now be offered to incurable patients in the event of physical, and possibly psychological, suffering. The “or” was replaced by an “and” in the second version and that is very important. Indeed, this novelty could harm certain patients and reduce this right quite significantly. Finally, an amendment was tabled by the related Member Renaissance Cécile Rilhac aims to give patients the possibility of choosing to delegate the gesture of administering the lethal substance to die, whether to a caregiver or a loved one. A proposition that does not pass muster for some caregivers.