Euthanasia and Palliative Sedation in Belgium

BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, January 2018

13 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2018

See all articles by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

university of hull

Wes Ely

Vanderbilt University and VA-GRECC

Date Written: January 5, 2018

Abstract

The aim of this article is to use data from Belgium to analyse distinctions between palliative sedation and euthanasia. There is a need to reduce confusion and improve communication related to patient management at end-of-life specifically regarding the rapidly expanding area of patient care that incorporates a spectrum of nuanced yet overlapping terms such as palliative care, sedation, palliative sedation, continued sedation, continued sedation until death, terminal sedation, voluntary euthanasia, and involuntary euthanasia. Some physicians and nurses mistakenly think that relieving suffering at the end of life by heavily sedating patients is a form of euthanasia, when indeed it is merely responding to the ordinary and proportionate needs of the patient. Concerns are raised about abuse in the form of deliberate involuntary euthanasia, obfuscation and disregard for the processes sustaining the management of refractory suffering at the end of life. Some suggestions designed to improve patient management and prevent potential abuse are offered.

Keywords: Belgium, sedation, euthanasia, abuse, palliative care

JEL Classification: Z00, I10, I12, I19

Suggested Citation

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael and Ely, Wes, Euthanasia and Palliative Sedation in Belgium (January 5, 2018). BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, January 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3102668

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Contact Author)

university of hull ( email )

Cottingham Road
Hull, Great Britain HU6 7RX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hull.ac.uk/faculties/staff-profiles/raphael-cohen-almagor.aspx

Wes Ely

Vanderbilt University and VA-GRECC ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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