the government is seeking a peaceful dialogue with the caretakers
AFP, Posted on Friday, December 02, 2022 at 11:21 am.
Ministers and parliamentarians traveled to Narbonne to hear the views of palliative care experts a week before a citizens’ convention on the end of life, which aims to discuss a possible change in legislation, is due to start.
“Is this discussion legitimate for you or is it over?” Olivier Veran, a government spokesman and minister responsible for Democratic Renewal, asked caregivers during a visit with Agnes on Thursday. .
In front of them, dozens of members of the teams of the palliative center of the private hospital Grand Narbonne, trained by Claire Fourcade, president of the French Society of Palliative Care, were able to present their opinions and reluctance.
“It’s good to ask questions (…), but euthanasia is not a topic for us,” assured Sarah Halioui. “Patients who say to us: + doctor, I can’t take it anymore, I want it to stop +, this is our daily life. But we have answers to give them, not so much”, – believes this doctor from the palliative care service. .
Like her, several members of dozens of caregivers highlighted the “broad solutions” that could be offered to alleviate physical and psychological suffering and accompany terminally ill people to death.
– The difficult role of the carer –
“When you have aids in place, someone to relieve pain, relieve anxiety, wash them, change them and help their loved ones, patients no longer want to die.” rebelled against the idea of ”putting this choice on the patient one day”.
“But is it really the choice of any patient to accompany to the end?”, the minister answered. Where does kindness stop, where does fatherhood begin?
In this delicate debate, other doctors shared their fear of being entrusted with the mission of active assisted dying by the change in legislation.
“It scares me that this could pass,” said Sophie Audrey, a general practitioner who works on the service’s mobile team. “As a doctor, I don’t want it to be considered a choice. I don’t know how to imagine care in that context,” he explained.
Especially since patients’ wishes can evolve and be contradictory: “The question of euthanasia involves irreversibility (…) it will go to something binary against the uncertainty of humanity,” stressed the psychologist Marie-Françoise Chalamet.
– Do not oppose palliative care –
However, all agreed that there are situations in which people cannot relax, or do not want to live, or do not want to take responsibility for the end of their life. “These are exceptional circumstances, not the rule,” Mr Veran said, adding that he understood the “emotion” of carers.
To comfort someone by telling them that they will have a choice and to see the guilt of the potential patient who wants to live, says to himself, I am still alive, I am a burden to my loved ones, when can I die (. ..) I am afraid that there is no longer an alternative for them, and they have a moral pressure should be applied”, general practitioner Jean-Baptiste Humbert warns.
Faced with these fears, a government spokesman assured that “all provisions must be made to reassure professionals”.
Agnès Firmin le Bodeau, who visited several palliative care services, highlighted the “very different” feelings depending on the place and insisted that it was necessary to “have calm discussions and not be against palliative care and active assistance in dying”.
“We will have to go to palliative care,” he said, noting that many departments are left without such care units.
In parallel with the citizens’ convention, these ministers are leading two working groups responsible for considering the question, one of which is Claire Fourcade and the other of health professionals, including parliamentarians.