a new case questions the Claeys-Leonetti law

In a photo sent by his son, Ilan, Jean-Claude Seknagi, 70, is sitting on his medical bed surrounded by his wife, son and two granddaughters. Smiling. In a video shot a few days ago, when asked if he is happy to go home, he replies, lying on his stretcher: » Very happy ! » It’s hard to imagine that six months ago, the doctors only gave him a few days to live and decided to stop the treatments keeping him alive.

Stopping processing, a possibility authorized by law

In this case, the hospital refuses to communicate, in the name of medical secrecy, even if it suggests that the case would be more complicated than it seems. The cross in any case only has the information provided by the family and its lawyer. The story dates back to February 2022 when Jean-Claude Seknagi, 70, has been taken care of for a few weeks at the Robert Ballanger hospital center in Aulnay-Sous-Bois. Victim of sepsis in December 2021, he arrived at this establishment after several transfers and, in the meantime, contracted a urological infection. There, his condition deteriorated. On February 14, when the patient was admitted to intensive care and was plunged into an artificial coma, the medical team informed the family of their decision to limit treatment.

For the hospital, which issues a prognosis » pejorative in the short or medium term”according to a document seen by The cross, the condition of Jean-Claude Seknagi cannot indeed improve. However, limiting or stopping treatment (including nutrition and hydration), when a patient is condemned in the short term, is authorized by the Claeys-Leonetti law, which, in France, regulates the end of life. Voted in 2016, the result of a broad medical and political consensus, it seeks reconciliation between the fight against therapeutic relentlessness (or unreasonable obstinacy) and the obligation to relieve suffering, including by deep sedation until death. .

Only, for those close to Jean-Claude Seknagi, this announcement is experienced as “planned killing” in the words of his son. Worse, a « relentlessness to end » – still according to Ilan -, the doctors having already tried, the previous month, to stop the treatments, before the justice, seized by the family, does not suspend the procedure.

Justice vindicates the family

This time again, the family turns to the judges. « The administrative court of Montreuil has once again given us reason », says Ilan Seknagi. In April, the authority asked the hospital to stop the procedure for stopping treatment. In the meantime, « Our father’s condition had improved, explains the son, who therefore publicized the affair. His bedsore was better, he had no more infection. »

The family has bailiff reports made, by video. We see Jean-Claude Seknagi, out of a coma, answer with a nod when asked if he is in pain somewhere or caress his son’s hand several times.

“Meanwhile, the doctors kept telling us that he was in a state of minimal consciousness”chokes Ilan, four months later. » VSActs can be mere reflexes”did indicate the hospital in a document mentioning in addition that “the prognosis in terms of neurological functional recovery [était] dark and that the pursuit of active care [relevait] unreasonable therapeutic obstinacy ».

Return home

« Dad healed between May and August », says Ilan Seknagi. Since August 11, the former Renault employee has been hospitalized at home (HAD). If the joint remains difficult and his state of health extremely fragile, the patriarch interacts with those around him… Giving a feeling of victory to his son.

“I am very happy to have been at the end of this fight. I was alone, facing a whole medical team, an expert, hospitals, all unanimous… It seemed lost in advance”he rejoices, relieved, while not hiding his anger against the French law on the end of life.

“With the Claeys-Leonetti law, doctors can decide to stop treatment, even if the patient or the family objects. There needs to be a discussion about it.he believes, marked by his experience. While some ask to die with dignity, others who want to live are denied the chance to fight! »

Too permissive for some, too restrictive for others, the Claeys-Leonetti law remains hotly debated, six years after its adoption. For professionals, it continues above all to be poorly known and poorly applied in France.


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