Terminal sedation: The Academy of Medicine is worried

Publié le : 5 March 2013

 In a position paper published on 14 February, the Order of Doctors declared that it was favourable to "terminal sedation."(Gènéthique press review from 11th to 15th of February 2013). In a press release, the Academy of Medicine has stated that it is worried by this position, which comes after its previous stance against a change in the Leonetti law on the end of life and against "medical assistance for dying." This press release, signed by Professor Denys Pellerin, honorary president of the Academy of Medicine, and Jean-Roger le Gall, member of the Academy, mentions that "as soon as one talks about terminal sedation, the goal is no longer to soothe and accompany patients, but to cause their death." The Academy adds that "the goal of sedation is no longer only, as the Leonetti law recommends, to soothe and accompany patients who have come to the end of their life, placing the doctor in the role of accompaniment, in accordance with medical humanism, when this ‘powerful’ sedation will precipitate its end." The Academicians conclude: "we must distinguish the ‘end of life’ from ‘ending life’ which cannot be equated with a medical act." They add: "assistance for dying is contrary to the vocation of the doctor and the Hippocratic oath."

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