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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005 Feb 26;149(9):445-8.

[Terminal sedation: consultation with a second physician as is the case in euthanasia and assisted suicide].

[Article in Dutch]

Author information

1
Erasmus Medisch Centrum, afd. Huisartsgeneeskunde, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam. b.ponsioen@erasmusmc.nl

Abstract

In terminally-ill patients in the Netherlands deep sedation by means of a continuous subcutaneous infusion with midazolam occurs more frequently than euthanasia and assisted suicide. Deep terminal sedation is applied to relieve symptoms during the phase of dying, but in contrast to euthanasia and assisted suicide, does not hasten death. In three terminally-ill patients, a 65-year-old man suffering from pulmonary carcinoma, a 94-year-old woman with general malaise, nausea and anorexia, and a 79-year-old woman in the final stage of ovarian carcinoma, a general-practitioner advisor was consulted about an end-of-life decision--deep terminal sedation versus euthanasia or assisted suicide. The first two patients were given deep sedation until death, in both cases a day and a half later. The third patient's request for euthanasia was considered to meet the legal criteria for euthanasia. Compliance with the Dutch statutory criteria for due care in euthanasia and assisted suicide might also be helpful when deciding about terminal deep sedation, but the role and responsibility of the attending physician may differ. However, the radical effects of sedation on the terminally-ill patient and the rapid changes in the clinical situation of the patient when the decision to sedate is taken, both emphasize the need for consultation with another physician.

PMID:
15771336
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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