New Report : Does euthanasia distort palliative care practice in Belgium?

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Thématique : Fin de vie / Euthanasie et suicide assisté

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Publié le : 02/12/2015

The purpose of this new Report published by the European Institute of Bioethics is to describe the Belgian model of "end of life care" that, since 2002, has aimed at developing "palliative care for all", while nonetheless authorizing the practice of euthanasia under certain conditions.
The thirteen years since the passage of this decree have culminated in a clash between two opinions:
* one affirms that the decriminalization of euthanasia has truly enabled the development of continuous, palliative care;
* the other, conversely, stresses that making euthanasia commonplace is cannibalizing, and, little by little, distorting the concept of palliative care, which, in principle, focuses on support until death, but without triggering it.
 Today, so many foreign countries, are currently debating the future of palliative care in the context of aging populations, many people are watching the "Belgian laboratory" closely.
The European Federation of Palliative Care, just published a White Paper, which reaffirms that euthanasie must not be part of the palliative care practice. So why does Belgium act differently?

Does this create a confusion for confronted patients, care providers, and institutions with delicate new ethical issues?
Can we allow different institutional practices? In face of the ever more common place practice and social acceptance of
euthanasia, does this model not inevitably pressure physicians, patients and society at large to prescribe "an efficient end of life"?

Report in English or in French


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