French law is based on 2 ideas, palliative care, and cessation of useless care, particularly life sustaining cares, when they are useless, when the patient suffers and when his dignity is damaged.
I sum up as law is very complex.
The present system has defaults.
Palliative care units are lacking in numbers and staff members. The communication with the families is non existant in too many cases. (I have known a first hand exemple with my father-in-law last year).
The cessation of life sustaining cares supposes a decision and these decisions are sometimes contested in front of courts, never successfully, for religious reasons sometimes.
People who suffer from incurable diseases ask the right to die.
The debate is mainly for or against euthanasia, medically assisted death or suicide pills.
Personally, when feasible, suicide pill or medically assisted death if needed, are the best solution. and they are needed.
Are you asking if it’s a good idea?
Or are you curious about opinions?
My wife and I have made legal living wills, that stipulate extreme measures are not to be taken to keep me/us alive. I’m 67, still get around pretty, though I can certainly feel the diminishing like never before. These days four, five hours of moderately heavy (I no longer do “heavy”) physical work has me taking a nap.
When I get to the point I’m bed ridden and my mind no longer remembers and my lofty musings and desire get it written down as well as I can muster, fade into a sea of confusion, I’ll be ready to die and enter the sanctuary of eternal deep dark sleep.
I don’t want to keep hospital machines pumping some artificial life into me, when there are young accident victims who can be saved and brought back to health to continue their lives with those resources being squandered on my old and spent body - I want them to have the benefit diminishing resources. (I’ve even had this discussion with my daughters: I’ve lived my life, and beat some big odds, I’m content, heck amazed with my life, even within my frustration with so much around me, when I’m gone, it’s okay miss me, but don’t mourn me.)
My life has been all about activity, engaging with living and families and experiencing the range of emotions our sensual bodies possess.
I was not born to be a vegetable, if I become one, please, please, please, let my spirit go!
Not sure how it is in France, but there are very few places where you can go and just say you want to die and take something to make it happen.
It’s not that different from an abortion, it should be between you and your doctor. The problem with requiring a life threatening disease is that there are some really bad diseases that don’t have a “death date” that can be predicted. Compounding that, a disease like dementia takes away your ability to express any kind of logic and reason. Or, even if one day you feel like starting a program of starving yourself, you’ll probably forget it once you get hungry. So, people around you would have to take on the responsibility, and that gets into deep legal waters.
The best advice I know of currently is to record your wishes while you are of sound mind. Let as many people you know as possible, that you don’t want to live that way. There is no legal document that covers this.
Perhaps slightly overstated, though I agree with you and Morgan for the most part.
And yes, it’s important your family and significant others are aware of your wishes. My wife saw a nifty thing a few years ago and bought us each a organizational book: “I’m Dead, now what” where we’ve recorded important information and copies of important documents, to make things easier for those we leave behind.
This is a moral debate rather than a scientific debate. Euthanasia is rarely necessary as all of the diseases humans die from will eventually finish the job and it is not difficult for a person to create a living will, as Citzenschallenge noted. People are rarely kept alive beyond all hope.
The issue is really about the individual having control over when and how they die – e.g. avoiding suffering or humiliation – and if that is the right thing to do.
A missing element today is the ability to have conversation at all. The legal problems of letting a dementia patient starve are bad enough, and if there is no record of the person desiring such actions, it’s not possible to do it openly.
“End of life” is currently defined as having 6 months, maybe a year, to live, with physical pain. There are a lot ways to be alive that none of us would wish to be in, that don’t fit that.
The French constitutional court is going to judge a very interesting case.
A patient had written a living will, saying that in any case, he should be maintained artificially, whatever be is condition.
He has been victim of an accident and is maintained artificially, his brain being no functional.
Paragraph 3 of Article L. 1111-11 of the Public Health Code provides that advance directives are binding on doctors except when they “appear manifestly inappropriate or not in accordance with the medical situation”.
The family argues that this exception is unconstitutional.