“When doctors don't know the patient well, they tell themselves that they don't want to have any problems later. & # 39; & # 39; said Dr. Olivier Bouchy, the Vice President of the French Medical Council in the Meuse Department. "Signing a death certificate is not harmless."
As with many things in France, tradition may also be an obstacle to changing the role of the doctor in confirming deaths. The death certificate procedure, said Dr. Bouchy, goes back to an earlier time.
"Who declared death at the royal court? It was the king's doctor, "said Dr. Bouchy." We are still rooted in very old traditions. "
In France, the role of the state in regulating people's daily lives remains – also in Health issues – strong, the lack of a doctor, especially at the emotionally vulnerable moment when a family member dies, can feel like a deep betrayal.
"We felt abandoned by the state," said Frédéric Deleplanque, who had to wait more than two days for a doctor to certify the death of his retired father-in-law Jean-Luc Bajeux, a retired auto worker. "We were nothing."
On a Saturday morning earlier this year, Mr. Deleplanque discovered his father-in-law, who had been sick in his apartment in Douai and slumped on his way to the toilet in his wheelchair, turned off the heating and television before going to Notdi first reached on the phone.
"He asked me to touch my father-in-law to make sure he was dead," Deleplanque recalled. "I told him he died, but he insisted. So let's go, I've touched him, he's cold. "