Palliative care: The man in a state of exception
Keywords: biopolitics, palliative care, state of exception, bare life
Language: In Latvian

In Latvia, palliative care as a system is unable to help everyone who is in need of it. The system often imposes an additional burden of suffering and humiliation on the terminally ill or dying person, thus affecting his or her relationship with death. One becomes a victim of contradictions between the intent and realisation of the system. As late as in the autumn of 2021, the first opportunity for state-funded full-time care of hospice at home was created in Latvia. The aim of the article is to look at the problems of palliative care in Latvia in the context of Giorgio Agamben’s biopolitical theory and to highlight the presence of the state of emergency, naked life and camp phenomena to help understand and approach their causality and contradictions in the system that determines the quality of life of the patient and his/ her relatives and pushes them into the zone of uncertainty.

Biopolitics can be seen as an inclusion of life in the political dimension. Agamben’s theory offers a philosophical approximation of the impact of biopolitical processes and an understanding of the interrelationships locally affecting the palliative care system and the lives of incurable patients. Identifying and exploring the problems and their causes, or at least approaching identification of them, can provide a conceptual basis for further discussion and pave the way for a new policy that would allow palliative care to fulfill its mission of affirming the value of a human’s life and taking care of a patient’s quality of life until death, preventing the cancellation of the person. Palliative care is the area of life where an in-depth ethical view would correspond to search instigated by Agamben.