Presenter Information

Noah Dimas - Duquesne University Center for Global Health Ethics

Abstract

The present attitudes surrounding death and dying in the United States have been trending toward the acceptance of so-called “Assisted Death” interventions at the end-of-life (EoL), specifically Physician-Assisted Suicide. The acceptance of these interventions is rooted in the notion of autonomy within the American culture of medicine that generally states a patient is allowed to request whatever medical interventions they wish. As such, legislative bodies around the United States have begun to legalize Assisted Death in response to the regularly cited desire to die peacefully and without pain from an expected terminal illness. However, for Catholic healthcare organizations, there is a strong moral and theological objection to Assisted Death. In the Catholic Tradition, the intentional ending of life is highly immoral and deeply rejected. As such, in its present state, Assisted Death is not allowable in Roman Catholic healthcare organizations. However, Catholics are obligated to provide as much ordinary care as possible to the sick in all stages of life. Thus, Catholic healthcare organizations are faced with the dilemma to utilize Assisted Death and thereby practice immoral interventions or deny Assisted Death interventions and potentially cause the terminally ill great pain and suffering in their deaths. This essay will respond to this dilemma by proposing a new framework for Catholic healthcare organizations to utilize present methods of palliative sedation in ways that will reduce intractable pain and suffering in patients specifically as an EoL intervention. This usage of palliative sedation in Catholic healthcare organizations will allow for Catholic morality to be upheld, for the Catholic obligations to care to be met, and for the desire of terminally ill patients to die without pain and in peace to be respected all without utilizing the present methods of Assisted Death.

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Advisor

Gerard Magill, PhD

Submission Type

Paper

Share

COinS
 

Catholic Terminal Sedation-A New Framework for Providing Terminal Palliative Sedation as a Requirement in Catholic Healthcare Organizations

The present attitudes surrounding death and dying in the United States have been trending toward the acceptance of so-called “Assisted Death” interventions at the end-of-life (EoL), specifically Physician-Assisted Suicide. The acceptance of these interventions is rooted in the notion of autonomy within the American culture of medicine that generally states a patient is allowed to request whatever medical interventions they wish. As such, legislative bodies around the United States have begun to legalize Assisted Death in response to the regularly cited desire to die peacefully and without pain from an expected terminal illness. However, for Catholic healthcare organizations, there is a strong moral and theological objection to Assisted Death. In the Catholic Tradition, the intentional ending of life is highly immoral and deeply rejected. As such, in its present state, Assisted Death is not allowable in Roman Catholic healthcare organizations. However, Catholics are obligated to provide as much ordinary care as possible to the sick in all stages of life. Thus, Catholic healthcare organizations are faced with the dilemma to utilize Assisted Death and thereby practice immoral interventions or deny Assisted Death interventions and potentially cause the terminally ill great pain and suffering in their deaths. This essay will respond to this dilemma by proposing a new framework for Catholic healthcare organizations to utilize present methods of palliative sedation in ways that will reduce intractable pain and suffering in patients specifically as an EoL intervention. This usage of palliative sedation in Catholic healthcare organizations will allow for Catholic morality to be upheld, for the Catholic obligations to care to be met, and for the desire of terminally ill patients to die without pain and in peace to be respected all without utilizing the present methods of Assisted Death.