Icon of the French Novelle Vague, French-Swiss Jean Luc Godard, 92, died this Tuesday (13) by assisted suicide, according to the French newspaper Libération. To the newspaper, the filmmaker’s family declared that he was not sick, but “exhausted”, and that the decision was his.
The same newspaper recalls that in 2014, Godard stated that he was not willing to “pursue life with full force” and that if he was sick, he did not want “to be dragged in a wheelbarrow at all.” At the time, aged 84 and old enough to resort to assisted suicide in Switzerland, however, he said that “chosen death” was still “a very difficult decision.”
The method is a modality of reduction of life by injection of a single and lethal dose prescribed by a doctor and applied by the patient himself or by a third party that assists him.
It is the same request made by actor Alain Delon, 86, who in April this year declared on his son’s social networks that he had already made his decision. Delon lives in Switzerland, lost his wife last year and underwent heart surgery and a double stroke that hampered his speech and movement.
The procedure chosen by the two is different from euthanasia, which is not authorized in Switzerland, and is carried out by the action or omission of a doctor, health professional or other person that causes the death of a terminally ill patient or with great physical dependence. In this case, the death may or may not be voluntary, which means that the patient does not always have the autonomy to decide, a premise required in assisted suicide.
In Switzerland, the practice is authorized for patients with great physical or psychological suffering, as long as it is indicated by a doctor. For foreigners, the report of unbearable suffering must be made by two specialists, one Swiss and the other from his own country.
In Brazil, article 122 of the Penal Code establishes a penalty for the participation of any person in suicides, although there is a provision for mitigating factors – which prohibits doctors from drawing up a report in favor of the patient.
Inducing or instigating someone to commit suicide or providing assistance to someone who does so generates a prison sentence of two to six years if the person dies, or one to three years if it results in serious bodily harm.
The practice is also allowed in other countries such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Australia, a law in favor of euthanasia was passed in 1996, but this was repealed months later. Assisted suicide, however, has been allowed in some regions of the country since 2017.
According to Valdir Gonzalez Paixão Junior, a researcher in bioethics education and human rights and professor at Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista), the best path for Brazil is still “palliative care”, measures that do not aim to cure, but to relieve symptoms. and suffering, such as support from a multidisciplinary team or induced sedation, indicated for terminal patients with an estimated life of around 6 months.
“There are several reasons related to some type of exhaustion that can even direct the person to seek a solution and in this case it was the very end of existence for not facing a given problem”, says the professor.
In the field of Brazilian bioethics, there are two lines of medical debate: one that defends the autonomy of the individual or patient in decisions related to assisted suicide and another that is based on the principle of non-maleficence, which should characterize medical conduct and practice.
Psychiatrist Albert Nilo, a master and professor of medicine who works in the public and private health network, recalls that 95% of suicides are related to mental health. National statistics show that 35% of suicidal people have a mood disorder, 22% are harmed by the use of substances such as alcohol and other drugs and about 20% have schizophrenia or a personality disorder.
Financial problems that affect the emotional state of the person and the family, such as unemployment, intractable diseases and chronic pain, genetic factors, depression, anxiety and disfiguring injuries are other factors that can influence, according to data from the Manual for Professionals of Mental Health Teams. of the Ministry of Health.
“Exhaustion is related to mental health. Suicide is a matter of enormous mental suffering. There are several causes that lead the individual to end his own life, but it is an act of medical urgency, the greatest emergency of psychiatry”, defends Nilo .
The professional recalls that most people who commit suicide inform their family members or a health professional a few days before that they will commit the act and that a third of them were undergoing medical treatment.
“No matter how painful life is, there is always help, treatment, whether listening, therapy, medication, family support. There are several ways to alleviate suffering”, he says.
The doctor also warns that the elderly, especially men, are the population group that commits suicide the most.
“It is necessary to be aware of the transition from work, retirement, loss of self-esteem, sexual impotence, becoming a widower, loss of a loved one or family member, chronic pain, serious illnesses. All this makes the elderly refuse food and medication for use regular basis, which can already suggest suicidal ideation and consultation with a qualified professional is essential”, points out Nilo. (Danielle Castro / Folhapress)