Navigation Links
Euthanasia and the use of end-of-life drugs without explicit request
Date:5/17/2010

Despite fears to the contrary, the use of drugs to end life without patient request has not increased since euthanasia was legalized in Belgium, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/rapidpdf/cmaj.091876v1?ijkey=7e8aeb7d487df3b7630863f09968fab81968bfdd (www.cmaj.ca).

Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are controversial issues in the medical world. There are fears that the legalization of euthanasia will result in an increase in the use of life-ending drugs without explicit patient request, especially for vulnerable people such as seniors.

Euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide have been decriminalized in the US states of Oregon (1997) and Washington State (2009), as well as three European countries: Belgium and the Netherlands (2002) and Luxemburg (2009). Recently, the legalization debate has ignited in several countries, including Canada where a proposed bill was defeated by Parliament in April and the National Assembly of Quebec has launched consultations on the right to die through euthanasia.

The CMAJ study by a team of Belgian and Dutch researchers found 208 physician-assisted deaths in their sample of death certificates in Flemish Belgium. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide occurred in 2% of all Flemish deaths and the use of life-ending drugs without request occurred in 1.8% of deaths. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide were performed often in patients younger than 80 years (79.6%), in cancer patients (80.2%) and in people dying at home (50.3%). The use of life-ending drugs without explicit request often involved patients over the age of 80 (53%) and deaths in hospital ( 67%).

Despite the lack of explicit patient request, the use of life-ending drugs was in most cases discussed with patients' families and health professional colleagues.

"The use of life-ending drugs without explicit patient request occurs predominantly in hospital and among elderly patients who are mostly in an irreversible coma or demented," write Dr. Kenneth Chambaere, Vrije Universiteit, Brussel, and coauthors. "This fits the description of 'vulnerable' patient groups at risk of life-ending without request. Due attention should therefore be paid to protecting these particular patient groups from such practices. However, these patients are not proportionally more at risk than other patient groups."

The researchers also found that in deaths without explicit request, mostly opioids were used along with benzodiazepines, although the efficacy of opioids in hastening death may be overestimated. They urge the need for advance care planning in the case of unpredictable end-of-life illnesses and decision-making.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kim Barnhardt
kim.barnhardt@cmaj.ca
613-520-7116 x2224
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. The death of euthanasia
2. End-of-life care strategies examined in Pennsylvania prisons
3. Reasoning through the rationing of end-of-life care
4. Doctors Put Off End-of-Life Talks With Terminally Ill
5. Survival benefit with high-intensity end-of-life approaches
6. Does the U.S. Need to Ration Costly End-of-Life Care?
7. End-of-Life Care Planning Eases Stress for Relatives
8. Advance Directives Help Assure End-of-Life Wishes Are Honored
9. New Drugs, New Combinations Fight Breast Cancer
10. NICE guidelines ration affordable osteoporosis drugs
11. Bone Drugs May Beat Back Breast Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab ... services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill ... Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud ... and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and ... the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Milford, NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... weekend at scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by ... and physical activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor ... on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning ... innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story ... the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation ... has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... COPENHAGEN, Denmark , Oct. 2, 2017 The ... tool in the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription ... plan for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their ... is set to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 ... access. Learn more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 25, 2017   Montrium , an industry ... today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection ... that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF ... TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research ... increase transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Mich. , Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company ... destruction of targeted tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... PhD ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: