“A duty of accompaniment that medicine must assume until the end”

Ihe debate on euthanasia and/or assisted suicide is revived. And the ballet of arguments repeats itself, inducing a somewhat boring feeling of déjà vu. “To kill or not to kill”, that would be the question. Dignity would prohibit it or, on the contrary, command it; the will of the one who would ask would be free for some, would not be for others.

These are questions of philosophical choice in which it is notorious that no arbitration is possible. The consideration of the consequences for society of a possible legalization of assisted dying does not help us to decide either: to the arguments of the slippery slope that some fear so much, is opposed the injustice experienced by those who, for lack of connections and means, do not have access to this precious service, available either illegally in France or legally abroad.

Even assisted suicide fails to achieve consensus: certainly, helping someone to perform an act that is no longer illegal since the French Revolution cannot be considered illegal. And yet, faced with someone threatening to commit suicide, the duty of assistance should prevail. As for the idea, defended by many doctors, that euthanasia would be in flagrant contradiction with the medical mission – to save life – it is disputed by those who, like the College of Physicians of Quebec, even see a form of care, the ultimate care.

painful survivals

The odds of either side winning the argument battle seem nil. The subject therefore risks becoming purely political. The outcome would certainly be legitimate from a democratic point of view, but unsatisfactory from an intellectual and moral point of view: the reasons will remain shared and not shareable, and above all misunderstood, therefore eminently unacceptable.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Active aid in dying: “The ambivalence of end-of-life patients must be respected”

Let us then ask ourselves what are the basic reasons why the question comes up so insistently. Admittedly, an anthropological revolution has indeed taken place: for many of our contemporaries, life is no longer a gift from God. But we cannot stop there. It is medicine itself that paradoxically never ceases to provoke the demands that overwhelm it; on the question of assisted dying, she is caught, so to speak, in her own trap. In the work of the composer Gluck, Iphigenia thus addresses the goddess Diana, who exercised her beneficial power over her, saving her from her father: “O you who prolonged my days, take back a good that I hate! O Diana, I implore you, stop the course! » Medicine indeed prolongs people’s lives, and this not only with extraordinary means which it would suffice to limit, thus avoiding “unreasonable obstinacy”, but by perfectly ordinary means of current medicine, which allows life expectancy never reached in history, but creates painful “survival” situations.

You have 62.14% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

source site-27