Case of Chantal Sébire

Chantal Sébire , born on And died on In Plombières-lès-Dijon , is a French teacher . She suffered from a rare tumor , and the media coverage of her suffering and death have rekindled the debate on euthanasia in France .

Disease and Demand for Euthanasia

Chantal Sébire suffered from an esthesioneuroblastoma , a very rare sinus tumor and nasal septum . This tumor, which had become incurable, caused ” atrocious ” pains , according to her, and had caused her to lose her sense of smell and taste , and finally the sight six months before her death . Being against the idea of ​​suicide, 1 she asks the justice and the President of the French Republic , Nicolas Sarkozy , “the right to die with dignity”.

She explains her approach in an interview with AFP on 26 February 2008 , telling of the intense physical pain caused by her illness and the advance of it.

His case revives the debate on euthanasia , which is banned in France, a debate that will be relayed by the media in Europe, Asia and America. Several French and international media are interested in it, such as BBC 2 or Time 3 , but Chantal Sébire, anxious not to see his words distorted, and his image used, will close the door to most of the media, reserving his confidence in the journalist of France 3 she had enjoyed the comment during a first report, the 1 st and 2 February 4 .

Debate around the request for euthanasia

Bernard Kouchner , a former doctor and foreign minister at the time, took a stand for Chantal Sébire’s right to die, 5 contrary to the positions taken by Rachida Dati , Minister of Justice, or Christine Boutin , Minister of Housing and Housing the city. The About Christine Boutin invoking the physical appearance of Chantal Sébire 6 will be denounced as “outrageous” and “untrue” by Jean-Luc Romero , president of the Association for the right to die with dignity 7 .

His application was dismissed on 17 March 2008 by the Tribunal de Grande Instance , Dijon . The latter applies the Leonetti law , which only allows the limitation of useful therapies and the initiation of end-of-life comfort therapies which, although allowing the acceleration of death, do not make it a therapeutic objective. Chantal Sébire commits suicide by massive ingestion of barbiturates 8 , two days later, on March 19 , at his home in Plombières-lès-Dijon , Côte d’Or (on the same day as the Belgian writer Hugo Claus whose law Belgian had allowed euthanasia 9 ).

His death, preceded by a media struggle, revived a debate on the delicate question of euthanasia, which has multiplied on many websites and Internet forums, especially those devoted to Marie de Hennezel’s book , Can we Legalize euthanasia 10 ?

Refusal of treatment

Geneticist Axel Kahn , a member of the National Ethics Committee, reported that Chantal Sébire had refused both an operation, which would have been highly successful, and that any form of medication (including morphine ), which she considered to be “Poison”, to prefer the only homeopathy . He regrets that this truth has been overshadowed by the “media tsunami” 11 . In an interview with the Parisian , the head of the palliative care unit in Dijon, Dr. Béal, had indicated that Chantal Sébire had refused palliative care, painkillers, “which she assimilated to chemistry To poison ” . He reproaches “the Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (ADMD) to seize this emblematic case to advance its cause” by drawing up the picture “of a limited medicine that does not want to know anything, locked in Its certainties. This is not what happened 12 . ”

On the legal level, Chantal Sébire’s lawyer, Gilles Antonowicz , argues that the “refusal of any treatment” is a right recognized by the Public Health Code . He considered that this right was in clear contradiction with the obligation to take into account the “right to respect for the dignity” of every patient and the right of the latter “to see his suffering taken into account and treated”. He estimated that only the judge was able to resolve this contradiction 13 .

Press articles

  • “The demand for euthanasia of Chantal Sébire decided Monday by the justice”  [ archive ] , Le Monde , March 17, 2008 .
  • Gaëtan Gorce, “End of life, refining the law”, Le Monde , 18 March 2008 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ “Today, in the case of Chantal Sébire, we are at an impasse because she refuses palliative care,” he explains to “20 Minutes”. She refuses suicide which is a freedom, and she asks for assisted suicide by appealing to the law. » March 13, 2008, 20 Minutes, online article  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ ” France rejects right-to-die plea [ archive ] , BBC.
  3. ↑ ” Making a Case for Euthanasia [ archive ] , Time .
  4. ↑ “Sébire Chantal, the mistress of his death as in his life”  [ archive ] , Le Monde , 21 March 2008 .
  5. ↑ “Bernard Kouchner gives his support to Chantal Sébire”  [ archive ] , Le Figaro , 19 March 2008 .
  6. ↑ She said the day before the court hearing, in a radio interview on RMC be “outraged that we can consider to kill the woman because she suffers and is deformed”
  7. ↑ “Christine Boutin” outraged one can give death “Chantal Sébire”  [ archive ] , Libération , 14 March 2008 .
  8. ↑ “Chantal Sébire has absorbed a barbiturate”  [ archive ] , Le Figaro , March 27, 2008 .
  9. ↑ “In Belgium, the chosen departure of Hugo Claus”  [ archive ] , Libération , March 21, 2008 .
  10. ↑ Courage of chantal sébire …: comment on Can we legalize euthanasia  [ archive ]
  11. ↑ Damien Le Guay Learning to die, learn to listen  [ archive ] , Figaro, 5 December 2008
  12. ↑ “In the end, Chantal Sébire wanted to be treated only by homeopathy”  [ archive ] , interview collected by Marc Payet in the Parisien of March 26, 2008
  13. ↑ Request to the President of the TGI of Dijon, in “The Pierra case”, Pascuito editor, 2008, p. 281 and following