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End of life

In 2005, the Law n° 2005-370 of 22 April 2005 on the rights of patients and the end of life, known as the Leonetti Law, was passed: it emphasizes the importance of care, the continuation of which is considered essential to preserve the patient’s dignity. It also aims to prevent therapeutic overkill and to allow medical treatment to be interrupted if it is judged disproportionate to the expected improvement.
In 2012, a report known as the Sicard Report (Presidential Commission for reflection on the end of life in France, Penser solidairement la fin de vie. Report to François Hollande, President of the French Republic, 18 December 2021) denounced the insufficient access to palliative care and exposed the fact that this law was little, poorly or not applied.
In 2016, the Leonetti law was repealed and replaced by the Law n° 2016-87 of 2 February 2016 creating new rights for patients and people at the end of life, known as the Leonetti-Claeys law. This law, currently in force, prohibits "unreasonable obstinacy" and "artificial prolongation of life" by the medical profession. It allows for deep and continuous sedation until the patient dies.
In 2021, a bill aimed at giving the right to a free and chosen end of life was debated in the National Assembly in France, but without success.

D 3 May 2021    AAnne-Laure Zwilling

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