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…

First

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.

Second

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.

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…

Take Action to stop doctor-assisted suicide in NYS

From our home Diocese of Rochester:

Proponents of doctor-assisted suicide are making a full court press to legalize this deadly practice in New York State, and lawmakers need to hear from their constituents if we hope to avoid yet another assault on human life here. Assisted suicide is dangerous for patients, caregivers, and vulnerable populations such as the elderly and people with disabilities. Suicide is not medical care. Please tell your State Senate and Assembly representatives that you oppose this dangerous and deadly practice. Contact  your state legislators now!

For more information and to find your state legislator please visit https://www.nyscatholic.org/action-center/

We, of course, agree entirely! Please do use the link above, or your own favorite method, to let your elected representatives know that Physician Assisted Suicide is not health care!

CMA Condemns Oregon’s Removal of Residency Requirements for PAS

    Catholic Medical Association Condemns Oregon’s Removal of Residency Requirements for Physician Assisted Suicide
 

Philadelphia, PA -April 4, 2022- Catholic Medical Association, which strongly opposes Physician Assisted Suicide, today condemned the State of Oregon’s decision to no longer enforce residency requirements for patients seeking euthanasia.  

“Removing the residency requirement from Oregon’s so called ‘Death with Dignity Act’ further undermines the dignity and sanctity of life. Inviting people from across state lines to come to Oregon to end their lives is not aligned with good medical care,” said Craig Treptow, M.D., President of CMA.  

CMA advocates for the respect of life in all of its stages and this includes ensuring dignified end-of-life care.  

“The State of Oregon has now extended its promotion of assisted suicide beyond its borders, inviting residents of other states to die with Oregon’s help. Every state has physicians and other health care professionals, including the members of CMA, that believe every patient deserves better than what Oregon offers,” said Tim Millea, M.D., Chair of CMA’s Health Care Policy Committee.  

CMA has remained active on the topic of Physician Assisted Suicide and in June of 2019, applauded the AMA for upholding its opposition to assisted suicide.  

### The Catholic Medical Association is a national, physician-led community of 2,400 healthcare professionals consisting of 115 local guilds. CMA’s mission is to inform, organize, and inspire its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine. Jill Blumenfeld blumenfeld@cathmed.org cathmed.org  

Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committe, Greg Burke, M.D., previously explained that a physician’s role is not to abandon a patient at the end of their life, but to “caringly walk with the patient through that uncertainty, alleviating suffering, while providing every opportunity for meaningful living as one prepares for death.”  

CMA urges Oregon to reconsider its position on Physician Assisted Suicide and restore dignity for its patients and their families.  

Catholic Medical Association | 550 Pinetown Rd, Suite 205 , Fort Washington, PA 19034

Rightly Rejecting PAS

Pontifical Academy for Life Members’ Support for Assisted Suicide Draws Criticism

This an interesting article. Here is a quick summary.

In Italy Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) is currently legal while Euthanasia is not. A recent popular referendum in favor of legalizing Euthanasia was rejected by the Italian court based on concerns that the proposed law did not provide sufficient protections for the venerable.

Now, two members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Jesuit Father Carlo Casalone and Dr. Marie-Jo Thiel, have argued that the Church should take the position that it would be morally acceptable to support legislation legalizing PAS as a strategic move to prevent legalization of Euthanasia. On its face this is a tempting (literally, see the Screwtape quote below!) position to take.

They liken this position to that of the Church, or a Catholic politician, supporting intermediate legislation that increases restrictions on abortion, say from 24 weeks to 16 weeks, rather than outlawing abortion outright as being acceptable so long as efforts continue to ultimately outlaw abortion.

This analogy is clearly inappropriate. In the case of the abortion law, the Catholic politician is supporting a bill that decreases the performance of the illicit action without promoting an alternative illicit action.

A more apt analogy would be suggesting that a Catholic politician could support the morning after pill (an abortifacient) in hopes that this would make the legalization of abortion less likely. Abortion is not “better” than the morning after pill just like PAS is not “better” than euthanasia.

All four are the fodder of mortal sin, regardless of whether one seems “worse” than another. Consider the warning in the advice given by Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood,

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Finally, perhaps Fr Casalone and Dr. Thiel would rethink their position if they were forced to use what appears to be the literal translation of the pertinent Italian term: Homicide of the Consenting

Homicide of the Consenting

Good news from Italy…

Italy’s constitutional court blocks physician-assisted suicide referendum

One seeming downside of the ruling is the primary reason given by the court is “inadequate legal protections for the weak and vulnerable.” This sounds like it invites future legalization efforts that ‘better’ address such concerns. While we certainly join the Italian Bishops in welcoming this ruling, it would be nice to see the Court reject this on moral groups. Sadly, this seems like a pipe dream in our modern world.

As an aside…

Their term for what we call PAS is interesting (assuming it’s accurately translated into English): Homicide of the Consenting.

Though the term is, to say the least, unlikely to catch on here in the US, it does have the advantages of being inclusive and accurate!