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Sedation of Persons who are Seriously Ill or Dying: Catholic Positions
Speaker: Dr William Sullivan
Summary: In palliative care, medications with sedating effects have been used in caring for persons who are seriously ill or dying, when effective management or relief of their distressing symptoms is difficult to achieve by other available means. The intention of appropriate sedation is to provide as much comfort as is needed to the person in distress, for as long as it is required, and not to induce unconsciousness as a means to hasten death.
Recently, however, the range of practices of sedation offered in palliative care has greatly expanded, while the ethical difference between appropriate sedation and euthanasia has increasingly been challenged.
Dr Sullivan will discuss some of these developments and a Catholic ethical framework to responding to them. He will draw on the 2012 Statement of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists on this issue and the 2012 Framework for Continuous Palliative Sedation in Canada, highlighting important areas of convergence and divergence.