31 January 2016
Eight years ago my brother died in England aged just 61 after undergoing what I later discovered was the infamous 'Liverpool Pathway' procedure. The patient was put into a coma then deprived of food and water until he died. After much controversy at the time, the procedure was withdrawn. Now senators in France have just approved a law that allows terminally ill patients to also be put into a state of ‘deep and continuous sedation’ until they die. Doctors can stop life-sustaining treatment. Sedation and painkillers can also be administered ‘even if they could shorten the person’s life’. There is also an earlier law passed in 2005 which allows so-called ‘passive euthanasia’, in which any treatment needed to keep a person alive is withheld or withdrawn. Health Minister Marisol Touraine, who previously said she would not support a euthanasia law, said: "This new law is a major breakthrough." Is this correct or just euthanasia of ill people to free up beds? For me, the maintenance of life is everything and this new law puts us all on a slippery slope to easy elimination when the going gets tough.