Se­da­tion, not eu­thana­sia for France

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

PARIS — France’s lower house of par­lia­ment has ap­proved a bill that could let doc­tors keep ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients se­dated un­til death comes but stops short of le­gal­iz­ing eu­thana­sia or as­sisted sui­cide. Af­ter years of tense de­bate over the is­sue and a long jour­ney through Par­lia­ment, the bill is now fac­ing a fi­nal vote at the Se­nate Wed­nes­day evening. The text is the re­sult of a con­sen­sus of So­cial­ist and con­ser­va­tive law­mak­ers. If adopted, it would al­low pa­tients to re­quest “deep, con­tin­u­ous se­da­tion al­ter­ing con­scious­ness un­til death” but only when their con­di­tion is likely to lead to a quick death. Doc­tors would be al­lowed to stop life-sus­tain­ing treat­ments, in­clud­ing ar­ti­fi­cial hy­dra­tion and nutri­tion. Se­da­tion and painkillers would be al­lowed “even if they may shorten the per­son’s life.”The bill would also ap­ply to pa­tients who are un­able to ex­press their will, fol­low­ing a process that in­cludes con­sul­ta­tion with fam­ily mem­bers. The meth­ods can in­volve med­i­cat­ing pa­tients un­til they die nat­u­rally of their ill­ness or un­til they starve. Some doc­tors, how­ever, say it may be more hu­man to eu­th­a­nize.

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