Therapeutic relaxation

The aggressive treatment means in the medical field, the use of therapies overly burdensome for the patient, disproportionate to the expected improvement. The refusal of this persecution can lead to death. It raises the question of the conflict between the freedom of the patient and the convictions and even the financial interests of the medical profession.

In some countries, including France, aggressive therapy is illegal as contrary to respect for the patient and the requirement of consent to examinations and care 1 . Indeed, according to the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), he testifies of “an unreasonable obstinacy, refusing by a reasoned reason to recognize that a man is doomed to death and is not curable” 2 .

Therapeutic charcoal and euthanasia

Related article: Euthanasia .

The difficulty of the question of non-therapeutic resisting lies in the limit with euthanasia , which is punishable by law in most countries . The practice is a practice (or omission) which aims to provoke the death of an individual suffering from a disease incurable inflicting suffering intolerable, particularly by a physician or under his control.

In France , the Code of Medical Ethics 1995 rejects aggressive treatment, while upholding the hospice 2 . The aim is not to hasten patients’ deaths but to relieve pain, even though caregivers may use doses of analgesics or analgesics that may bring the time death.

The Denmark recognizes a right of patients to refuse treatment 2 .

Position of the Catholic Church

The encyclical Evangelium vitae recalls the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the end of life. It repeats the previous distinctions and rejects euthanasia and therapeutic eagerness:

“We must distinguish from euthanasia the decision to renounce what is called therapeutic fury , that is to say, certain medical interventions that are no longer appropriate to the actual situation of the patient, because they are Now disproportionate to the results that could be expected or because they are too burdensome for him and his family. In these situations, when death is imminent and inevitable, one can consciously “give up treatment that would only provide a precarious and painful reprieve of life without interrupting the care of the patient in such a case”

– Evangelium vitae , 65

A distinction is drawn between “normal care” and medical treatment. Thus, in a document approved by Pope Benedict XVI , the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith believes that artificial feeding and hydration constitute “as a rule an ordinary and proportionate means of maintaining life” which must not be interrupted by respect for the dignity of patients 3 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑”When a person in the advanced or terminal stage of a serious and incurable condition, whatever the cause, decides to limit or stop any treatment, the physician must respect his will after having informed him of the consequences Of his choice. The decision of the patient is recorded in his medical file. “- Art. L.1111-10, para. 1 of the Public Health Code  [ archive ]
  2. a , b and c National Advisory Committee on Ethics , Opinion No. 63 on end-of-life, cessation of life, euthanasia  [ archive ] , 27 January 2000
  3. ↑ Opinion on the Vatican website  [ archive ]

See also

  • euthanasia
  • palliative care


  • The therapeutic reluctance , Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montreal, 1994, 41 p. ( ISBN 978-2-921736-00-8 )
  • The therapeutic impetus: the hospital ethics committees , University Center of Luxembourg, 1996, 88 p. ( ISBN 978-2-87971-072-3 )