Reckoning with the last enemy
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Developing the ethics of palliative sedation, particularly in contrast to terminal sedation, requires consideration of the relation between body and soul and of the nature of death and dying. Christianly considered, it also requires attention to the human vocation to immortality and hence to the relation between medicine (as aid for the body) and discipline (as aid to the soul). Leaning on Augustine’s rendering of the latter, this paper provides a larger anthropological and soteriological frame of reference for the ethics of palliative sedation, organized by way of nine briefly expounded theses. It argues that palliative sedation, like other elements of medicine, is appropriate where, and only where, it properly orders care for the body to the requirements of care for the soul.
KeywordsPalliative care Continuous deep sedation (CDS) Medical aid in dying (MAID) Assisted suicide Euthanasia Patient autonomy Conscience rights Augustine Anselm Irenaeus
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