Ethics of crisis sedation: questions of performance and consent

Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):339-345 (2019)
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This paper focuses on the practice of injecting patients who are dying with a relatively high dose of sedatives in response to a catastrophic event that will shortly precipitate death, something that we term ‘crisis sedation.’ We first present a confabulated case that illustrates the kind of events we have in mind, before offering a more detailed account of the practice. We then comment on some of the ethical issues that crisis sedation might raise. We identify the primary value of crisis sedation as allowing healthcare professionals to provide some degree of reassurance to patients, their families and the professionals who are caring for them. Next we focus on the issue of informed consent. Finally, we ask whether continuous deep sedation might be preferable to crisis sedation in scenarios where potential catastrophic events can be anticipated.



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Author Profiles

Nathan Emmerich
Queen's University, Belfast (PhD)
Bert Gordijn
Dublin City University

References found in this work

The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine.Eric J. Cassell - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Should the “Slow Code” Be Resuscitated?John D. Lantos & William L. Meadow - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (11):8-12.
Recognizing Suffering.Eric J. Cassell - 1991 - Hastings Center Report 21 (3):24-24.
The 'French exception: the right to continuous deep sedation at the end of life.Ruth Horn - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics Recent Issues 44 (3):204-205.

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