The Medical College Association and the Spanish Society of Palliative Citizens have published a guide on palliative sedation. Its aim is to define terminology on the subject matter and offer guidelines that can serve as a framework of good practicesfor the correct implementation of palliative sedation. This clarification is timely in a field that has spurred controversies and judicial sentences about what is meant by “good practice” in the final stage of a human being’s life.
The Code of Medical Ethics, approved last year after various consultations with all medical colleges, establishes that sedation during times of anguish is scientifically and ethically correct only when symptoms arerefractory toall treatment resourcesavailable and with the patient’s consent (implicit, explicit, or delegated). The Code also stipulates that the doctor shall never intentionally provoke the death of any patient, not even in the case of explicit request by the patient.
It is risky that the last decision about the fate of a terminally ill patient depends on what a doctor retains is a life worth living. For this reason, it is safer to implement the precautions established by palliative careexperts, as well as the expeditious criteria of euthanasia activists.
According to Dr. Brian Pollard, it is morally and ethically wrong to legislate on suppressing human life. To that extent, all laws that allow it are subject to unpredictable violations. It is socially deplorable and confusing to attempt to enact laws that allow the practice of euthanasia.
In 1930, Adolf Hitler legitimized the law’s extension by allowing scientific experiments to be conducted on humans. It served as a tool that helped conduct Hitler’s ethnic genocide. This historic fact should help us reconsider. When a legal loophole is opened, it is difficult later on to know when to close it. What began as a humanitarian method for the terminally ill turned out to be a tragedy.
When the transcendental point of view of existence shrinks, other terms should be used to refer to the moral value of the person, the dignity of human acts, and the morality of humanity.
According to the World Medical Associationand the British Medical Association, nobody holds neither the legal authority nor the prerogative to suppress life into death. For that matter, euthanasia is unethical. Instead, terminally ill patients should be treated with constant and attentive care in order to distance off the anguish during the process of life’s end.
“Throughout the five years of providing medical assistance to terminally ill cancer patients, none of them ever asked for euthanasia”, affirms Dr. Pollard. Palliative care should be given to terminally ill patients. In an exemplaryworld,mourners do not solicit euthanasia if they are well taken care of. Euthanasia floats among premises that do not respect the existence of the human being, whose lives only depend on God.(Translated by Gianna A. Sanchez-Moretti).