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Continuous deep sedation at the end of life and the natural death' hypothesis

Kasper Raus (UGent) , Sigrid Sterckx (UGent) and Freddy Mortier (UGent)
(2012) BIOETHICS. 26(6). p.329-336
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Abstract
Surveys in different countries (e.g. the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands) show a marked recent increase in the incidence of continuous deep sedation at the end of life (CDS). Several hypotheses can be formulated to explain the increasing performance of this practice. In this paper we focus on what we call the natural death hypothesis, i.e. the hypothesis that acceptance of CDS has spread rapidly because death after CDS can be perceived as a natural death by medical practitioners, patients' relatives and patients. We attempt to show that the label natural cannot be unproblematically applied to the nature of this end-of-life practice. We argue that the labeling of death following CDS as natural death is related to a complex set of mechanisms which facilitate the use of this practice. However, our criticism does not preclude the view that CDS may be clinically and ethically justified in many cases.
Keywords
natural' death, ethics, continuous deep sedation, EUTHANASIA, NETHERLANDS, CANCER-PATIENTS, end-of-life decision making

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Raus, Kasper, Sigrid Sterckx, and Freddy Mortier. 2012. “Continuous Deep Sedation at the End of Life and the Natural Death’ Hypothesis.” Bioethics 26 (6): 329–336.
APA
Raus, K., Sterckx, S., & Mortier, F. (2012). Continuous deep sedation at the end of life and the natural death’ hypothesis. BIOETHICS, 26(6), 329–336.
Vancouver
1.
Raus K, Sterckx S, Mortier F. Continuous deep sedation at the end of life and the natural death’ hypothesis. BIOETHICS. 2012;26(6):329–36.
MLA
Raus, Kasper, Sigrid Sterckx, and Freddy Mortier. “Continuous Deep Sedation at the End of Life and the Natural Death’ Hypothesis.” BIOETHICS 26.6 (2012): 329–336. Print.
@article{1147656,
  abstract     = {Surveys in different countries (e.g. the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands) show a marked recent increase in the incidence of continuous deep sedation at the end of life (CDS). Several hypotheses can be formulated to explain the increasing performance of this practice. In this paper we focus on what we call the natural death hypothesis, i.e. the hypothesis that acceptance of CDS has spread rapidly because death after CDS can be perceived as a natural death by medical practitioners, patients' relatives and patients. We attempt to show that the label natural cannot be unproblematically applied to the nature of this end-of-life practice. We argue that the labeling of death following CDS as natural death is related to a complex set of mechanisms which facilitate the use of this practice. However, our criticism does not preclude the view that CDS may be clinically and ethically justified in many cases.},
  author       = {Raus, Kasper and Sterckx, Sigrid and Mortier, Freddy},
  issn         = {0269-9702},
  journal      = {BIOETHICS},
  keywords     = {natural' death,ethics,continuous deep sedation,EUTHANASIA,NETHERLANDS,CANCER-PATIENTS,end-of-life decision making},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {329--336},
  title        = {Continuous deep sedation at the end of life and the natural death' hypothesis},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01861.x},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2012},
}

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