The VE Bulletin Excerpts
'No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself' Rudyard Kipling
Vol 20: No 3 November 2003
Terminal sedation debated - differences between terminal sedation and voluntary euthanasia
A call by the Dutch Attorney General, Joan de Wijkerslooth, for 'terminal sedation' to be covered by the same legal controls as voluntary euthanasia has been rejected by the Dutch ministers of health and justice. The Royal Dutch Medical Association feared legal interference with 'normal medical activity' already covered by professional guidelines.
Health Minister Clemence Ross has claimed a distinction between terminal sedation and voluntary euthanasia. Sedation reduces the dying person's consciousness so that they are no longer aware of their suffering, whereas voluntary euthanasia is carried out at the patient's request and is reportable to regional committees which undertake a review of each case.
However Mr de Wijkerslooth who is the Chief Prosecutor argued that terminal sedation can have the same effect as euthanasia and should therefore also be subject to external controls. The large-scale study of end-of-life decisions (reported above) revealed that between 4% and 10% of all deaths are the result of terminal sedation.
Sheldon, A 'Terminal sedation different from euthanasia, Dutch ministers agree', British Medical Journal, 2003: 327:465 30th August
Previous item |
Back to Newletter Contents |