The article looks into the case involving Fabiano Antoniani, who, following a major road accident, was left tetraplegic. Marco Cappato drove him to a Swiss clinic where Mr. Antoniani took his own life by self-administration of lethal pentobarbital sodium. Cappato was put on trial, but the Italian Constitutional Court urged the Parliament to decriminalise assisted suicide in extremely serious cases. From a comparison with other European countries, approaches range from restrictive (banning both active euthanasia and assisted suicide), to entirely permissive. An intermediate approach only entails a ban on active euthanasia. It would be desirable to uniformise the diverse national statutes on a European level, which would make it possible for everyone to receive assistance towards ending their suffering, with limitations to incurable cases to be medically verified, and at the end of a path designed to ensure that patient freedom of choice is upheld at all time.
This article will explore whether the law should allow people with anorexia nervosa to refuse nutrition and hydration with special reference to the English decision in Re E (Medical Treatment: Anorexia). It argues that the judge in that case made the correct decision in holding that the patient, who suffered from severe anorexia nervosa, lacked capacity to make valid advance directives under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 of the United Kingdom, and that medical procedures that are apparently against her wishes should be carried out for the sake of preserving her life. The law should generally not permit patients with anorexia nervosa to decline nutrition and hydration, precisely because their autonomous ability to make such decisions has been substantially circumscribed by this psychiatric condition.
The legalization of medical assistance in dying (MAID) in Canada has presented an opportunity for physicians, policy makers, and patients to rethink end-of-life care. This article reviews the key features of the Alberta MAID framework and puts it in the context of other provinces and their MAID programs. We also compared policies and MAID practices in different provinces/territories of Canada. In addition, we used the Alberta MAID database to provide the current state of patient demographics and access to MAID services in Alberta in 2017-2018. Significant differences were identified between provincial/territorial MAID program processes and practices. Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec have more comprehensive frameworks. Alberta has dedicated resources to the support of MAID. The median age of those who received MAID service in Alberta from July 2017 to April 2018 was 70 years; a higher proportion were males (55%) and the majority included patients with a cancer diagnosis (70%). Approximately 39 per cent of MAID events happened in a hospital setting, and 38 per cent occurred in patients' homes. We have presented some recommendations on MAID program development, implementation, and review based on Alberta's experience with MAID over the past two years.
With the ratification of the landmark United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities by India, it was imperative to revamp the mental health-care legislation, among other changes. Most notably, a presumption of mental capacity has been introduced, which means a paradigm shift in the client and provider relationship. The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 empowers all persons to make advance directives (AD) and nominate representatives for shared decision-making. Psychiatric ADs (PADs) also seem to improve the information exchange between the care provider and the service user. PADs may also be used as a vehicle of consent to future treatments. While drafting the PAD, the drafter must also plan how such directed care would be financed. Insurance companies have not been mandated to comply with ADs. In the eventuality that the drafter's family refuse support for treatment specified in the PAD, the drafter would be left holding an unimplementable PAD. The AD saw its origins in the care of the terminally ill and decades later came to be utilized in mental health care. After nearly three decades of use in developed countries, evidence at best remains mixed or inconclusive. This review focuses on the AD from the Indian perspective.
Background: Responding to an epidemic of opioid-related deaths, guidelines and laws have been implemented to promote safe opioid prescribing practices.
Objective: This study evaluates differences in screening practices and knowledge of laws between oncologists and cardiologists who prescribe opiates.
Design: Surveys regarding screening practices and knowledge of opioid prescribing laws were distributed in March 2017 to oncology and congestive heart failure (CHF) clinicians at the University of Virginia. Chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used.
Results: Forty-six of 129 (35.6%) oncology providers and 7 of 14 (50%) CHF providers reported prescribing opiates in their clinic with usable survey results. The majority of oncology (65.22%) and cardiology (85.71%) providers report screening for substance abuse “when indicated” (p = 0.053). Only 19.6% of oncologists reported always using the prescription monitoring program (PMP), while 71.43% of cardiologists reported using it always (p = 0.014). Of the oncology providers, 66.67% report never using the urine drug screen (UDS), while 86.7% of cardiologists reported using it “when indicated” (p = 0.0086). Up to 34.78% of the oncologists and 57.14% of the cardiologists reported of never screening the family members for misuse (p = 0.317). Knowledge of laws was similar between groups, with 14.29% of cardiology and 17.39% of oncology providers reporting no knowledge of opioid prescribing laws (p = 0.2869).
Conclusions: Routine screening for substance misuse risk was uncommon for both groups, but cardiology providers were more likely to use the PMP or UDS. Knowledge gaps regarding Virginia laws were noted in both groups. Improved education regarding best practices and laws, as well as programs to promote screening, is needed for all providers.
Depuis le 31 janvier 2018, l’Italie fait partie des États qui disposent d’une loi permettant à tout individu majeur d’exprimer ses volontés en matière de traitement, en prévision des jours où il pourrait être hors d’état de le faire. Parallèlement, en France, deux ans après son entrée en vigueur, la loi Claeys-Leonetti est de plus en plus questionnée. Certains demandent une nouvelle loi sur la fin de vie. Un détour par l’Italie, centré sur le contexte d’émergence de sa récente loi, peut se révéler éclairant. Si les similitudes entre les deux textes sont nombreuses, les différences entre les pratiques et les cadres de pensée peuvent suggérer des pistes de réflexion afin de contribuer à améliorer les conditions de la fin de vie.
This paper argues that existing English and Welsh mental health legislation (The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA)) should be changed to make provision for advance decision-making (ADM) within statute and makes detailed recommendations as to what should constitute this statutory provision. The recommendations seek to enable a culture change in relation to written statements made with capacity such that they are developed within mental health services and involve joint working on mental health requests as well as potential refusals. In formulating our recommendations, we consider the historical background of ADM, similarities and differences between physical and mental health, a taxonomy of ADM, the evidence base for mental health ADM, the ethics of ADM, the necessity for statutory ADM and the possibility of capacity based ‘fusion’ law on ADM. It is argued that the introduction of mental health ADM into the MHA will provide clarity within what has become a confusing area and will enable and promote the development and realisation of ADM as a form of self-determination. The paper originated as a report commissioned by, and submitted to, the UK Government's 2018 Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983.
This article analyses new legislation regulating advance directives in Italy. On 14 December 2017, the Italian Senate passed a Bill regulating end-of-life decisions by codifying patients' rights to self-determination. It is the first law governing advance directives in the Italian legal system. This article studies and critically examines the two types of advance directives through an Italian legal perspective - living wills and nominations of a surrogate. It also applies a legal comparison approach. In its conclusions, this article advances some policy suggestions.
Nous avons cherché à savoir si le dispositif Leonetti-Claeys relatif à la sédation (DLC) relève d’une sédation palliative ou terminale, et comment se sont positionnées les dernières recommandations professionnelles à cet égard. Il s’avère que le DLC ne cherche pas à diminuer, de façon ajustée et proportionnée, la perception de symptômes réfractaires, dans le respect des enjeux relationnels de la fin de vie — ce qui correspondrait à la sédation palliative. Il consiste davantage à maîtriser les modalités du mourir par l’application standardisée d’une procédure de déconnexion psychique et relationnelle, et constitue dès lors un type de sédation terminale. Derrière ce changement de paradigme, on peut craindre une double réduction : celle de la dignité à la maîtrise des conditions du mourir, et celle de la relation de soins à un « droit à ». À l’inverse, les recommandations publiées par la Société française d’accompagnement et de soins palliatifs (SFAP) et la Haute Autorité de santé (HAS) se sont efforcées de replacer le DLC dans une visée palliative. Fait nouveau, elles distinguent maintenant entre sédation proportionnée et sédation disproportionnée. Mais la question est posée de savoir si le registre même des efforts déployés, hautement protocolisés, ne risque pas pourtant de renforcer la logique technicienne du DLC. Par ailleurs, le tableau comparatif de la HAS entre le DLC et l’euthanasie est erroné. Au final, le DLC induit une prise en charge plus intensive que palliative. Tel est le paradoxe d’une réponse technicienne aux enjeux relationnels de la souffrance en fin de vie.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (VAD Act) will become operational on 19 June 2019. A designated 18-month implementation period has seen an Implementation Taskforce appointed, and work is underway on projects including developing clinical guidance, models of care, medication protocols and training for doctors participating in voluntary assisted dying (VAD). While some have written on the scope of, and reaction to, the VAD legislation, there has been very little commentary on its implementation. Yet, important choices must be made about translating these laws into clinical practice. These choices have major implications for doctors and other health professionals (including those who choose not to facilitate VAD), patients, hospitals and other health providers. This article considers some key challenges in implementing Victoria's VAD legislation.
The Royal College of Physicians is to remove its opposition to assisted dying and adopt a neutral stance on the issue after announcing the results of a poll of its members.
Of the 6885 doctors who responded to the poll (20% of the RCP’s members and fellows), 43% thought that the college should be opposed to changing the law on assisted dying. This was similar to the 44% when RCP members were last polled in 2014.
But the proportion of respondents wanting the RCP to support a change in the law increased to 32% in 2019, from 25% in 2014. A quarter of respondents (25%) in the latest poll thought that the RCP should be neutral, down from 31% in 2014.
In 2016 a Parliamentary Committee in Victoria, Australia, recommended the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. Its report was deeply flawed. Its treatment of key objections to legalization, both principled and practical, was superficial and selective. The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, passed by the Victorian Parliament in November 2017, is built on the report's shaky foundations.
In May 2018, the Right to Try (RTT) Act was signed into law, and it aims to increase access to investigational drugs for people with life-threatening illnesses. Although compassion is widely viewed as the motivating logic of the RTT Act, there are also indisputable economic and political motivations. These motivations reflect the mindset that the development and delivery of cures is being impeded primarily by risk-averse scientists and regulators, when what is required is a bold commitment to save dying people, unencumbered by timid procedural hurdles. Considerable attention has been paid to how this legislation differs from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) existing Expanded Access regulations.2 However, during the bill’s progress through Congress, some of the concerns raised about the potential for unintended negative consequences of the law have been missing from the discussion. Herein, we consider one of these concerns: the Act’s potential to undermine palliative care for children with cancer.
End-of-life disputes in Ontario are currently overwhelmingly assessed through the singular lens of patient autonomy. The current dispute resolution mechanism(s) does not adequately consider evidence-based medical guidelines, standards of care, the patient's best interests, expert opinion, or distributive justice. We discuss two cases adjudicated by the Consent and Capacity board of Ontario that demonstrate the over emphasis on patient autonomy. Current health care policy and the Health Care Consent Act also place emphasis on patient autonomy without considering other ethically defensible factors. We argue that current policy and legislation require amendment, and unless there are measures undertaken to modify them, both the quality of care provided and the long-term capabilities of the health care system to remain publicly-funded, comprehensive and equitable, are at stake.
BACKGROUND: In December 2017, Law 219/2017, 'Provisions for informed consent and advance directives', was approved in Italy. The law is the culmination of a year-long process and the subject of heated debate throughout Italian society. Contentious issues (advance directives, the possibility to refuse medical treatment, the withdrawal of medical treatment, nutrition and hydration) are addressed in the law.
MAIN TEXT: What emerges clearly are concepts such as quality of life, autonomy, and the right to accept or refuse any medical treatment - concepts that should be part of an optimal relationship between the patient and healthcare professionals. The law maximizes the value of the patient's time to decide. Every patient is allowed to make choices for the present (consenting to or refusing current treatment) as well as for the future, conceived as a continuation of the present, and to decide what comes next, based on what he/she already knows. The law identifies three distinct but converging paths towards the affirmation of a care relationship based on reciprocal trust and respect: the possibility to consent to or refuse treatment, the shared care planning, and advance directives.
CONCLUSIONS: The fundamental point to emerge from the new Italian law is that consensus is an essential connotation of the treatment relationship. Consensus is not limited to the acceptance/rejection of medical treatment but is ongoing. It is projected into the future through shared care planning and advance directives which act as tools for self-determination and the manifestation of the beliefs and preferences of persons unable to express their will. These principles are in line with the idea of appropriate care as evaluated from two different perspectives, one of scientific adequacy and the other commensurate with the individual's resources, fragility, values, and beliefs. Surely, however, the new law is not the end of the matter on issues such as conscientious objection, which is deeply rooted within the Italian cultural and political debate. In this regard, healthcare institutions and policymakers will be called upon to develop and implement organizational policies aimed at the management of foreseeable conscientious objection in this field.
The debate around assisted dying in the UK shows that patients are not offered enough choice in how illness at the end of life is managed. Yes, for many patients, end of life care is good, but for some it is not how they would choose to end their days.
Assisted dying would let terminally ill people access drugs to end their own lives, under strict conditions. The Suicide Act, which prohibits assisted dying, has been in place since 1961—there is a need now for fresh, informed debate. This is why I welcome the decision by the Royal College of Physicians of London (RCP) to survey its members on assisted dying.4
At present, it is the perceived rigid opposition of doctors that blocks any serious review of the law. Parliamentarians have used the opposition of the BMA and medical royal colleges to justify rejecting legislative change.
[Début de l'article]
Arguably, deciding the timing and manner of one's death is the biggest decision of all. With the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act commencing in 2019, assessing capacity to choose Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) becomes a critical issue for clinicians in Victoria, and elsewhere with ongoing efforts to change the law across Australia and in New Zealand. We consider how capacity assessment and undue influence screening can be approached for VAD, the role and risks of supported decision-making, and argue for the importance of training to ensure health care professionals are educated about their role.
La possibilité pour les personnes gravement malades de terminer leur vie à domicile constitue un objectif à atteindre pour le gouvernement français et celui du Québec (plans 2015-2018.fr ; 2015-2020. qc). A cet effet, en 2016, la loi Claeys-Leonetti a été instituée en France (Editeur officiel de la République française, 2016). Au Québec, la loi concernant les soins de fin de vie a été votée en 2014 (Editeur officiel du Québec, 2014). Cette dernière permet aux personnes en fin de vie de demeurer chez elles, si elles le désirent, en disposant de ressources qui améliorent leur qualité de vie tout en réduisant leur vulnérabilité. Toutefois, la réalisation de cet objectif soulève d'importants enjeux comme l'épuisement des proches, la fragilisation du lien social pouvant mener à l'isolement social, et les limites du bénévolat en soins palliatifs. Afin de composer avec ces enjeux, le Québec (Qc) et la France (Fr) sont confrontés à la nécessité de faire évoluer leur modèle de soins palliatifs et d'accompagnement en fin de vie.