Abstract

Guidelines that have been published on sedation until death take the following positions: the patient’s consciousness should not be lowered more than is necessary for preventing her from suffering; it must be impossible to alleviate the suffering in any alternative way; and the patient’s mere preference for dying peacefully cannot justify the procedure. Some guidelines also stipulate that purely existential suffering cannot do so either. I will discuss the (few) arguments that can be found in the literature for these restrictions. I will focus in particular on the argument that it is either a vital interest, or even a duty, of the patient to preserve consciousness as long as possible at all times. None of these arguments turn out to be convincing. On the other hand, deviation from the requirements can be justified only by appealing to the priorities of the patient. These should therefore have been discussed in detail at an earlier stage of the patient’s illness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3249
Print ISSN
1054-6863
Pages
pp. 369-397
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-27
Open Access
No
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