Is Continuous Sedation at the End of Life an Ethically Preferable Alternative to Physician-Assisted Suicide?

American Journal of Bioethics 11 (6):32 - 40 (2011)
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Abstract

The relatively new practice of continuous sedation at the end of life (CS) is increasingly being debated in the clinical and ethical literature. This practice received much attention when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling noted that the availability of CS made legalization of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) unnecessary, as CS could alleviate even the most severe suffering. This view has been widely adopted. In this article, we perform an in-depth analysis of four versions of this ?argument of preferable alternative.? Our goal is to determine the extent to which CS can be considered to be an alternative to PAS and to identify the grounds, if any, on which CS may be ethically preferable to PAS

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Sigrid Sterckx
University of Ghent