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Respect Life: 

Assisted Suicide and Continuous Deep Sedation

"The intrinsic value and personal dignity of every human being do not change...A man, even if seriously ill or disabled … is and always will be a man and he will never become a ‘vegetable’ or animal." Pope John Paul II

The Catholic Church approves the measured use of sedatives for the necessary control of symptoms such as intolerable pain, agitation and anxiety. It mandates the provision of food and drink until death.

However, it appears that a problem has emerged whereby continuous deep sedation is sometimes used, inducing a permanent coma until death. For example, it seems that Dutch doctors (where euthanasia is legal) have used continuous deep sedation in an attempt to keep the figures artificially low. There are serious concerns that this is happening elsewhere.

Continuous deep sedation shortens life and should be distinguished from common sedation practices. It deprives the patient of consciousness at the most important moment of life, the moment of death, when conscious decisions may have eternal consequences.


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