Le droit de mourir

Le 21 décembre, un médecin italien du nom de Mario Riccio a débranché le respirateur qui maintenait en vie Piergiorgio Welby. Celui-ci, atteint de dystrophie musculaire et paralysé, s’était battu en vain devant les tribunaux italiens pour obtenir le droit de mourir. Riccio a administré un sédatif et éteint le respirateur ; Welby a remercié sa femme, ses amis et son médecin. Quarante-cinq minutes plus tard, il était mort.

Le souhait de Piergiorgio Welby, auquel les médias italiens ont donné un large écho, a déclenché des débats animés. On ne sait pas encore si le médecin sera poursuivi en justice, mais un politicien italien a déjà réclamé son arrestation pour homicide.

Ce décès soulève deux questions, qu’il faut distinguer. D’une part, une personne a-t-elle le droit de refuser un traitement qui la maintient en vie ? D’autre part, peut-on défendre l’euthanasie volontaire d’un point de vue éthique ?

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