More French Paradoxes

Bioethics Forum, the Hastings center, 8 August 2014
Author: Susan Gilbert
“Death is hard to deal with anywhere, but France has some contradictory ways of providing end-of-life care, as two recent articles discuss. On the lighter side, Agence France-Presse reports on a novel service that one French hospital will launch next month to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients: a wine bar in the palliative care center, which will also stock champagne, whisky, and beer. The hope is that it will “cheer up the difficult day-to-day existence of patients,” the head of palliative care told the news service. On the darker side, France is grappling with what to do when patients can no longer benefit from wine, champagne, or more medical forms of palliative care. While France has resisted proposals to legalize physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, doctors nonetheless resort to these practices regularly–thus far without legal consequences, according to a recent article in the New York Times, which has received surprisingly little attention on social media but prompted conversation here at The Hastings Center.”
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