Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (11):664-668 (2012)

Authors
Jacob Van
United States Air Force Academy
Guy Widdershoven
VU University Amsterdam
Abstract
The main premise of the Royal Dutch Medical Association's (RDMA) guideline on palliative sedation is that palliative sedation, contrary to euthanasia, is normal medical practice. Although we do not deny the ethical distinctions between euthanasia and palliative sedation, we will critically analyse the guideline's argumentation strategy with which euthanasia is demarcated from palliative sedation. First, we will analyse the guideline's main premise, which entails that palliative sedation is normal medical treatment. After this, we will critically discuss three crucial propositions of the guideline that are used to support this premise: (1) the patient's life expectancy should not exceed 2 weeks; (2) the aim of the physician should be to relieve suffering and (3) expert consultation is optional. We will conclude that, if inherent problematic aspects of palliative sedation are taken seriously, palliative sedation is less normal than it is now depicted in the guideline
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2011-100353
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References found in this work BETA

“Reinventing” the Rule of Double Effect.Daniel P. Sulmasy - 2007 - In Bonnie Steinbock (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 114--49.
Disambiguating Clinical Intentions: The Ethics of Palliative Sedation.L. A. Jansen - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (1):19-31.

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Medical Ethics and Double Effect: The Case of Terminal Sedation.Joseph Boyle - 2004 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (1):51-60.
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Disambiguating Clinical Intentions: The Ethics of Palliative Sedation.L. A. Jansen - 2010 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (1):19-31.

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