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terminal sedation


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  • “Mr. Oltzik’s life would end not with a bang, but with the drip, drip, drip of an IV drug that put him into a slumber from which he would never awaken. That drug, lorazepam, is a strong sedative. Mr. Oltzik was also receiving morphine, to kill pain. This combination can slow breathing and heart rate, and may make it impossible for the patient to eat or drink. In so doing, it can hasten death.

    Mr. Oltzik received what some doctors call palliative sedation and others less euphemistically call terminal sedation.”

    The New York Times, Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Sedation, by Anemona Hartocollis, December 26, 2009

    December 27, 2009

  • "In the past few years, some ethicists and doctors have proposed terminal sedation (TS) as a legal alternative to assisted suicide. TS is defined as the deliberate 'termination of awareness' for 'relief of intractable pain when specific pain relieving protocols or interventions are ineffective' and/or 'relief of intractable emotional or spiritual anguish (existential suffering, psychological distress, emotional exhaustion)'. (Emphasis added) An essential component of TS is also the withdrawal of all treatment, including even food and water, so that death occurs as soon as possible."

    - Nancy Valko, Sedated to Death? 2002.

    January 21, 2010