Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic World News

Vatican newspaper cautions against misuse of sedation in care of terminally ill

December 06, 2018

In a front-page column in L’Osservatore Romano’s December 6 edition, Ferdinando Cancelli cautioned against the misuse of deep and continuous sedation for terminally ill patients.

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Cancelli, a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life and expert in palliative care, was commenting on a recent report by France’s National Center for Palliative and End-of-Life Care. That report, which examined the implementation of France’s 2016 Claeys-Leonetti law on end-of-life care, chided doctors for their reluctance to use deep and continuous sedation.

Cancelli expressed concern that the authors of the report appeared to consider deep sedation as an end in itself that should be implemented more broadly. Deep sedation, Cancelli continued, should be a truly exceptional means of palliative care for patients whose death is imminently approaching.

“The intent seems clear: someone would like to find a way to use deep and continuous sedation, manifestly also applied when death is not imminent, as a euthanasia practice,” Cancelli concluded. “Someone would like to put consciences to sleep by manipulating scientific evidence and slowly distorting the very principles of palliative care.”


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