The debate surrounding palliative sedation

Categories: In The Media.

Pereira added the symptoms must also be refractory, meaning all other drugs that have been tried have failed to control the symptoms. 

Despite being used at hospitals like Bruyère Continuing Care, the treatment is seen by some health experts as blurring the lines between a sound clinical therapy and euthanasia.  

Dr. Marcel Boisvert, a retired palliative care doctor who worked at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, has used palliative sedation with a number of patients.

Boisvert said doctors can’t say with 100-per-cent certainty that palliative sedation can’t, in even a small way, hasten death because often artificial hydration and liquids are withdrawn from the patient when the sedation is given.  

“You say you don’t want to hasten a patient’s death but if it lasts more than a week without hydration and nutrition but experts like nephrologists say beyond seven days [without] one drop of liquid probably adds a bit to the dying process,” said Boisvert.

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