“I have been in palliative care for 35 years”: when he was 23 years old, Alain Cocq was presented with a painful diagnosis, that of an incurable disease. Now 58 years old, the activist for a “dignified” end of life, who traveled through France in a wheelchair, is no more than a shadow of himself. “I should be dead,” he said, his puny body buried in the medical bed of his small Dijon apartment. “The doctors caught up to me nine times at the last minute. I regret it because it is not my life: it is a life imposed by illness, ”he blurted out.
“Everything goes haywire”
“I empty myself in pockets. Everything goes haywire, one organ after another. I haven’t left my bed for two years, except to go to the hospital. My body is a vegetable and it is starting to no longer accept painkillers ”.
Doctors believe that I am not in the twilight of my life
On the fridge door, there is the traditional magnetic panel where others write down their shopping lists. Alain Cocq’s life assistants wrote: “Morphine tablet at 12 noon, 4 pm and 9 pm”, preceded by an exclamation mark surrounded by a red triangle.
Despite all his suffering, Alain Cocq cannot benefit from the law in force, known as Claeys-Leonetti and adopted in 2016 : the latter authorizes “deep and continuous sedation, which can go as far as death”, but only for people whose vital prognosis is engaged “in the short term”. “Doctors believe that I am not in the twilight of my life. But I have been in palliative care for 35 years! », He enraged.
The bill, which is to be debated this Thursday in the National Assembly, provides that a person with an incurable affection inflicting suffering that cannot be appeased can have assisted suicide.
96% of French people in favor of assisted suicide
“I want the agony to end,” says Alain Cocq, referring to his own, but also that of the “10,000 people in France” who could have recourse to euthanasia, but who are prevented from doing so by “these doctors”. arrogating the “right of life or death”.
“The role of the doctor is to relieve when he can no longer heal”, he judges, stressing that it is also the will of God. “The Pope clearly said that pain was not a rite of passage to go to paradise,” recalls this “non-practicing Catholic”.
The Dijonnais also points the finger at the deputies who “have forgotten that they are there to apply the residual will of the population”, he said, citing the “many” polls giving a majority of French people for assisted suicide. The latest, an Ipsos survey from March 2019, estimates the proportion of favorable opinions at 96%.
In August, the incurable patient had asked Emmanuel Macron to authorize the medical profession to prescribe pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate which would have allowed him to “leave in peace”. Faced with the head of state’s refusal, he had twice tried to let himself die, by going on strike for care and hunger, but he had to give up in the face of unbearable pain, according to him.
You have to be rich to have the right to have a dignified end of life, in the land of human rights
Tired of war, Alain Cocq accepted the offer of an association, of which he was named, ready to finance the “€ 8,000 to € 10,000” that an assisted suicide costs in Switzerland.
“My file is validated and I am waiting for someone to summon me,” he said, not hiding his disgust at seeing that “you have to be rich to have the right to have a dignified end of life in the country. human rights “.
“A death in exile”
“I will be given a bitter liquid to drink and I will fall asleep.” It will then be a deliverance, the end of suffering. But, for me, it’s a death in exile. I would prefer to leave in peace on the land of my ancestors, where I was born, where my family shed enough blood for their country ”.
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