Conference on end of life: inform, debate and explain

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A delegation from the Ethical Reflection Space of Guadeloupe and the Northern Islands (EREGIN) recently invited the public and health professionals to participate in a debate on the delicate subject of end of life which often goes beyond medicine.

The delegation was made up of Dr Marilyn Lackmy, geneticist and director of Eregin, Dr Corinne Sainte-Luce, doctor and deputy director of Eregin, Dr Sonny Gene, head of the mobile pain/palliative care team at the University Hospital. from Guadeloupe, Marcel-Louis Viallard, anesthetist-resuscitator and professor of palliative medicine, and Sandra Cayet, coordinator at Eregin. These different speakers took turns to raise awareness among the public, representatives of the ARS - who mobilized strongly for this debate to take place - and health professionals on the end of life. If palliative care is often associated with death, this action allowed a different approach by emphasizing care for a better quality of life, comfort and relief for the patient, but also for those around them. At a time when the preliminary draft law on the end of life which should open access to active assistance in dying in France is on the desk of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, the debate remains necessary in view of the inadequacies in overseas territories, whether in terms of palliative structures, lack of training (none at SXM unlike Guadeloupe) and lack of human resources. Eregin mobilized doctors, nurses, caregivers and the Saint-Martin population to address ethical questions, the relationship to death in West Indian society and palliative care for patients at the end of life. Essential initiative to change the debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia when 81% of citizens do not know their rights. Since February 2, 2016, the Claeys-Leonetti law provides new rights for patients at the end of life. Among them, advance directives which allow any adult person to express their wishes regarding the end of life, to assert them in the event that they are no longer able to express themselves, without conditions of duration. The strengthening of the role of the trusted person designated by the patient to support them in their medical journey is also included; their opinion guides the doctor who consults them as a priority to make their decisions. Just like deep and continuous sedation until natural death or refusal of treatment. So many options that help limit patient suffering and give family and loved ones the opportunity to get through this difficult time with less apprehension. _VX

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