Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (2):171-183 (2012)

Freddy Mortier
University of Ghent
Continuous sedation until death (CSD), the act of reducing or removing the consciousness of an incurably ill patient until death, often provokes medical–ethical discussions in the opinion sections of medical and nursing journals. Some argue that CSD is morally equivalent to physician-assisted death (PAD), that it is a form of “slow euthanasia.” A qualitative thematic content analysis of opinion pieces was conducted to describe and classify arguments that support or reject a moral difference between CSD and PAD. Arguments pro and contra a moral difference refer basically to the same ambiguous themes, namely intention, proportionality, withholding artificial nutrition and hydration, and removing consciousness. This demonstrates that the debate is first and foremost a semantic rather than a factual dispute, focusing on the normative framework of CSD. Given the prevalent ambiguity, the debate on CSD appears to be a classical symbolic struggle for moral authority
Keywords Deep sedation  Euthanasia  Palliative care  Terminal care
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DOI 10.1007/s11673-012-9369-8
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References found in this work BETA

Social Space and Symbolic Power.Pierre Bourdieu - 1989 - Sociological Theory 7 (1):14-25.
Terminal Sedation: Pulling the Sheet Over Our Eyes.Margaret P. Battin - 2008 - Hastings Center Report 38 (5):pp. 27-30.
Vive la Crise!Pierre Bourdieu - 1988 - Theory and Society 17 (5):773-787.

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