Table 1

Selected articles of Law 2005-370 of April 22, 2005 relating to Patients' rights and to the End of life

Article 1

"The acts of prevention, investigation or treatment must not be continued with unreasonable obstinacy. When they seem useless, disproportionate or to have no other effect than solely the artificial preservation of life, they can be withheld or withdrawn. In that case, the doctor safeguards the dignity of the dying and ensures the quality of their life."

Article 5

"When a person is not in a condition to express their will, treatment limitation or cessation that could endanger their life cannot be realised without first respecting the collegial procedure defined by the code of medical ethics and without consulting the trusted person or the family or, failing this, one of their close relations and, if appropriate, the advance directives of the person. The motivated decision to limit or discontinue treatment is registered in the medical record."

Article 6

"When a person in an advanced or terminal phase of a severe and incurable affliction, whatever the cause, decides to limit or to stop any treatment, the doctor must respect their will after having informed them about the consequences of their choice. The decision of the patient is registered in their medical record. The doctor safeguards the dignity of the dying and ensures the quality of their end of life."

Article 7

"Every person of age can prepare advance directives in case they are one day in a condition that prevents them from expressing their will. These advance directives indicate the wishes of the person concerning their end of life and the conditions surrounding the limitation or stopping of treatment. They can be revoked by the person at any time.

Provided that they were established less than three years before the state of unconsciousness of the person, the doctor takes them into account for any decision about investigation, intervention or treatment regarding them."

Article 8

"When a person in an advanced or terminal phase of a grave and incurable affliction, whatever the cause, and in a condition that prevents them from expressing their will, has appointed a trusted person, the opinion of this trusted person, except in cases of emergency or when it is impossible to contact them, prevails over any other non-medical opinion, with the exception of any advance directives, in the decisions concerning investigation, intervention or treatment made by the doctor."

Article 9

"When a person in an advanced or terminal phase of a grave and incurable affliction, whatever the cause, and in a condition that prevents them from expressing their will, the doctor can decide to limit or to stop a futile or disproportionate treatment that has no other effect than solely the artificial continuation of the life of this person, having respected the collegial procedure defined by the code of medical ethics and consulted the trusted person, the family or, failing this, one of his close relations and, if appropriate, the advance directives of the person. The doctor's motivated decision is registered in the medical record. The doctor safeguards the dignity of the dying patient and ensures the quality of their end of life."


Baumann et al. Critical Care 2009 13:204   doi:10.1186/cc7148