Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Deep Sedation is often "slow euthanasia"

The question of the use of deep sedation in the Netherlands as the alternative form of euthanasia is an important question.

In the case of deep sedation, a person is usually sedated and then fluids and food are withdrawn resulting in an intentional death by dehydration or "slow euthanasia"

Intentionally killing someone by injection (or as Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland now use, a plastic bag and helium) usually takes several minutes and usually not more than one hour.

To intentionally kill someone by dehydration usually takes 10 - 14 days.

The problem with the moral assessment of deep sedation is that not all acts of deep sedation are related to decisions to intentionally kill the person. Sometimes, a person is very near to death and experiencing intractable pain. The person is sedated and dies within a few days. This is not euthanasia but in fact good palliative care.

Deep sedation can also be used in other cases when someone is not near to death but also experiencing intractable pain. These people can be sedated for several days, fluids and food should be continued, and after the short period of time the person comes out of the sedated state. These people are sometimes relaxed from their time of sedation and can be effectively treated for pain and symptom management without re-sedating them.

The point is: deep sedation can be used as a form of "slow euthanasia" or it can be effectively used as a form of good palliative care.

We must point out that when deep sedation is used as a form of euthanasia that this is an abuse of medical ethics and often an imposed death, whereby the family is not informed that the reason for the deep sedation is to cause the death of their family member.

Like all acts of euthanasia, deep sedation can be abused and is a direct threat to the lives of the most vulnerable people in our society who are not given the care and respect that is due a human person.

For more information contact Alex Schadenberg at: 1-877-439-3348.

Study signals Dutch switch to drugs from euthanasia
Fri Mar 21, 2008
(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox and Matthew Jones)

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