All teaching cards

End of life : let's agree on semantics

- Euthanasia and assisted suicide

Euthanasia was decriminalized many years ago in the Netherlands and Belgium, both for adults and for minors. It has become common practice.
More recently, it has passed into law in Luxembourg and Colombia, and is in the process of being legalised in Canada. For its part, assisted suicide is tolerated in Switzerland and authorised in five US states (Montana, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California).

In many rich countries, the debate on the end of life has made its way onto the political agenda and has already been subjected to a vote in Parliament, for example, in France, the UK and Germany.

It is clear that the debate on questions related to the end of life is not only an ethical debate. It is also a semantic debate. These questions are so delicate-probing a fundamental prohibition of our states of law and the very foundations of the mission of the medical profession-that it is absolutely essential to agree on the words and concepts used to be able to answer them. That is the...

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Advance directive at the end of life

- Euthanasia and assisted suicide

Definitions : An advance directive at the end of life is the document in which a person expresses in writing his or her desire to be euthanised under the conditions permitted by law, in case he or she is no longer able to express his or her wishes later, due to being in a protracted coma. 

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The vegetative state

- End of life

The term "vegetative state" means the state of a patient whose level of brain activity is sufficient to direct the basic, vital functions of his or her organism without however enabling proper conscious thought and interaction with his or her environment. 

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Surrogate motherhood

- Surrogacy

The term "surrogate motherhood" refers to a set of situations in which a woman, the surrogate mother, agrees to carry and give birth to a child at the request of a couple.

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