Alex Schadenberg on Deep Sedation

Alex Schadenberg breaks down the problems with deep sedation, when used as a form of “slow” euthanasia:

I want to make it clear that Deep Sedation itself is not a moral problem, it becomes a moral problem when it is done with the intention of causing the persons death, usually by dehydration.

Deep Sedation is a very effective palliative technique for people who are suffering from neuropathic pain. This type of pain is less responsive to morphine. But good palliative care physicians know that you do not need to keep the person sedated until death in order to provide a great benefit for the person. Often a person can be sedated for several days and then allowed to come out of sedation. That person has often experienced a physical relaxation that would allow them to once again be awake but not suffering from intractable pain.

In otherwords, Deep Sedation has benefits and should not be discouraged, when properly used, but deep sedation can be abused whereby the person, who is not yet dying, is sedated and then dehydrated to death. This is a form of “slow” euthanasia.

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