Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No euthanasia, but possibly assisted suicide in France.

A article written by Angela Diffley and published today in the European news RFI English stated that the soon to be released French commission report on euthanasia and assisted suicide will recommend that euthanasia remain illegal but assisted suicide be allowed for progressive incurable illnesses.
François Hollande spoke about legalizing euthanasia during the election and soon after the election he established this commission on euthanasia and assisted suicide in France.
Many of these reports and examinations concerning assisted death base limit their research to the data on the reported assisted deaths in jurisdictions where it is legal. Therefore the unreported assisted deaths are not considered within these studies.
The recent meta-analysis of the 2010 data concerning assisted deaths in the Netherlands found that 23% of the "assisted deaths" were not reported. A recent study concerning the practice of assisted deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium found that 47% of the "assisted deaths" were not reported.
These reports indicate that the reported assisted deaths usually follow the guidelines in the law while the unreported assisted deaths usually do not follow the guidelines in the law.
Further to that, these reports have found that the demographic group for people who die by an unreported assisted death tend to be patients who are over the age of 80, die in a hospital, and were incompetent to make decisions for themselves. This represents a "vulnerable patient group" who have lost their life in a manner that is illegal and yet unprotected.
It is also important to note that in every jurisdiction where an assisted death has been legalized, the data from the reported assisted deaths comes from the doctor who carried-out the assisted death. 
The data from Belgium indicates that doctors do not report abuses of the law and doctors do not self-report abuses of the law. The data from the official reports do not indicate that abuses occur because they are simply not being reported.
Protest against euthanasia in France
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will work with the groups who oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. To legalize assisted suicide for any reason, will change the belief that it is always wrong to allow people, in society, to kill other people in society. 
Once assisted suicide is legalized, the social question moves from - is it right to kill people in society to in what circumstances is it right to kill people in society.
There must be a line in the law that it is always wrong to kill a human being.
The article from the European news RFI, English stated:
François Hollande
A report commissioned by French president François Hollande, to be made public on Tuesday, will recommend that euthanasia remain illegal in France, while leaving the door open to assisted suicide. 
Professor Didier Sicard concludes after his study of the issue, that assisted suicide could be considered in certain cases of progressive incurable illnesses. 
Under current French legislation, enshrined in the 2005 so-called Leonetti Law, it is illegal to give patients medication which will kill them, but legal to administer pain relief, which might have the side effect of shortening life. 
Opposition UMP Parliamentarian Jean Leonetti, largely responsible for the existing law, welcomed the new report’s conclusion to maintain France’s ban on euthanasia, and suggested that there was no need for any change in legislation.
He said that the details of the 2005 law were often not understood and that the law was not always applied. 
He declared that he himself did not favour allowing assisted suicide, as legalised in the US state of Oregon, because it would “break society’s solidarity with the most vulnerable” 
But in an interview with French radio station Europe 1, Marie Humbert, who helped her tetraplegic son to die in a widely publicised case in 2003, said she was “enormously disappointed” with the recommendations of the new report.
She said she knew of many mothers who had helped their children to die, with the unofficial help of sympathetic doctors, and that it was a very difficult secret for them to bear. 
The report is critical of doctors on the issue of pain relief, and condemns a culture which it says focuses on treatment and does not sufficiently emphasize efforts to reduce suffering, despite the existence of effective drugs. 
The authors also say that doctors sometimes appear deaf to the distress and wishes of patients, and they recommend that palliative care should form part of all medical training.
The book, Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide uncovers the data proving that unreported euthanasia deaths and the abuse of the euthanasia laws in jurisdictions where it is legal, such as euthanasia deaths without request, not only occurs but represents a threat to vulnerable patients.  

Order the book: Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Link.


rob jonquiere said...

Dear Alex,
Please clarify to me and your readers where and how you found the 23% of non-requested "assisted deaths"? I have looked and studied the results of the Dutch study you link to, but did not arrive at your figure. It maybe I look with a prejudiced look, but only can imagine such percentage is feasible when you juggle with the definitions: euthanasia and assisted suicide are absolutely different from deaths through overdosing pain treatment (the double effect doctrine regularly used in countries without laws like the Dutch). I miss the differentiation.
Rob Jonquière

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Rob:

I have no idea how you missed the 23% figure. Here is a link to my blog article on the stats. http://www.alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2012/09/dutch-statistics-euthanasia-is-out-of.html

Alex Schadenberg