Deep Sedation for “Psycho-Existential Suffering”… Euthanasia?

The issue of continuous deep (to-unconsciousness) sedation (CDS) to relieve suffering has been discussed in the literature and, indeed, used in clinical practice for a number of years. Two recent articles prompted this brief post…


For our purposes, we should note that while a minority of all patients receiving continuous deep sedation (CDS) do so for psycho-existential suffering (8.5%), and only one for solely this type of suffering… the VAST majority of these patients (78.6%) also desired “hastened death.”

So, it seems that we have a patient who is suffering and wishes to end his/her life. Then, the doctor administers a medication (with the express purpose of inducing CDS) that renders that patient incapable of eating/drinking… until the patient dies. It is far from clear how one could claim that this is anything other than euthanasia.


We very much appreciate the balanced approach of Drs. Dalle Ave and Sulmasy. Finding a balance between the maintenance of consciousness and the relief of otherwise intractable (perhaps “non-beneficial”) suffering is often difficult…and always important.

COVID Vaccine Redux – 2023-24 Season

As expected the FDA has now approved updated COVID vaccines, all of which are reformulated to target the newest COVID variant (XBB.1.5).

We are certainly in a different place now that we were in when we published our thoughts on COVID vaccines in the Fall of 2021 and Winter/Spring of 2022. The pandemic phase of COVID is officially over (as of May 11, 2023) and we are not, at the moment, talking about vaccine mandates.

However, we are not in a different place when it comes to the moral issue associated with COVID vaccine production and testing.

There are currently three FDA-approved vaccines, including from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and (most recently) Novavax. While each of these have been updated to target the current COVID variant, their methods of production remain the same. Pfizer and Modera are still mRNA-based technology while Novavax is protein-based. All three have in common their viral target (the so-called “spike protein”).

USA Today has a good overview of these three vaccines. The bottom line is that they are likely to be equally effective and have similar side effect profiles.

From a moral compromise standpoint, the Charlotte Lozier Institute provides a good overview here (PDF). Based on their schema, they are all equal from moral standpoint. All three avoid the use of abortion-derived cell lines in the Design/Development and Production phases while using HEK293 cells in the Confirmatory Lab Testing phase.

On a related note, there was discussion in 2021 that Pfizer may produce an influenza and/or RSV vaccines using mRNA technology, though this has not yet come to be, though stay tuned. Keep in mind that some of the discomfort “out there” with the mRNA vaccines has to do with their newness (and so lack of long-term safety data), some with the use of HEK293 cells, and some from other considerations. If/When mRNA-based influenza and/or RSV (or other) vaccines come to market, their moral status will need to be considered one-by-one.

We should also keep in mind that vaccines are not the only places in which one finds abortion-derived fetal cells…

An additional, excellent, resource for vaccine-related ethical questions is the NCBC’s Vaccine Resources.

A Death End-Around

It seems that there is no end to the… creativity… of those looking to harvest organs* from those who are not-quite-dead (i.e., not dead at all).

Thank you to Dr. Meaney at the NCBC for his discussion of a new use for Normothermic Regional Perfusion…organ procurement from those who are pretty clearly not dead.

This is extremely disturbing… and… worth reading!

*We are all for organ donation. Please consider being an organ donor. The problem here is the push to take organs from people who are NOT dead. See also our recent post regarding proposed changes to the definition of so-called brain death.

Brain Death Definition Proposed Changes = Bad Idea

We agree with the US Bishops and the NCBC that the currently proposed changes to the definition of brain death is a very bad idea!

This is a complicated topic, though the complicated nature of the topic seems largely due to a desire to create this definition in the first place. Dr. Sulmasy provides an excellent discussion of the issues related to brain death here.

Contact Albany – Oppose Assisted Suicide!!

The proponents of legalizing Assisted Suicide continue to push in the legislature. We must stand against this!

Please, please(!), contact your representatives TODAY to register your support for a culture of life and opposition to the Culture of Death that advocates for simply killing those are seen as no longer useful.

The template provided by the Albany Update is very good…and…we strongly recommend editing it. Our elected officials are, not wrongly, becoming ever-more able to spot and ignore form letters. So please, take the few moments necessary to express your personal opinion.

Please always feel free to Contact Us if we can be of any assistance!

For more from the Finger Lakes Guild on this important topic, see here.

Physician Assisted Suicide – Updates

Here is a quick summary of changes that are happening across the US:

Two things to keep in mind…

  1. The slippery slope is real. Remember this when “they” claim that it will be different in NY.
  2. We expect that the removal of the residency requirement in Vermont will have repercussions in NY, even this far west. More to come…