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French vote for Terminal Sedation – not euthanasia

(AP, Jan 27) On January 27, the French Parliament (Lower house and Senate in one day only!)  approved a bill (from Claeys and Leonetti) that could let doctors keep terminally ill patients sedated until death comes, but stops short of legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide. It would allow patients to request “deep, continuous sedation altering consciousness until death” but only when their condition is likely to lead to a quick death. Doctors would be allowed to stop life-sustaining treatments, including artificial hydration and nutrition. Sedation and painkillers would be allowed “even if they may shorten the person’s life.” The bill specifies that patients can choose to be sedated at home or in the hospital.

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