On Palliative Sedation
According to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services: "Patients should be kept as free of pain as possible so that they may die comfortably and with dignity, and in the place where they wish to die. Since a person has the right to prepare for his or her death while fully conscious, he or she should not be deprived of consciousness without a compelling reason. Medicines capable of alleviating or suppressing pain may be given to a dying person, even if this therapy may indirectly shorten the person’s life so long as the intent is not to hasten death. Patients experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated should be helped to appreciate the Christian understanding of redemptive suffering."
The Coalition recognizes the medical and ethical complexities involved in the practice of palliative sedation and has provided the following guidelines to support clinicians serving in Catholic health care.