Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Instead of Euthanasia: Continuous Deep Sedation Used Increasingly In The Netherlands

Date:
March 21, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The use of continuous deep sedation for patients nearing death in the Netherlands is increasing, while cases of euthanasia have declined, according to a new study.

The use of continuous deep sedation for patients nearing death in the Netherlands is increasing, while cases of euthanasia have declined, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


Although the exact cause of this trend is unclear, there are indications that continuous deep sedation may in some cases be being used as a substitute for euthanasia.

Patients nearing death often experience distressing symptoms and sedating drugs can be used as an option of last resort. Sedation can be used intermittently or continuously until death, and the depth of sedation can vary from a lowered state of consciousness to unconsciousness.

The most extreme use of sedation is continuous deep sedation until death, but there is a lack of large scale research on its use.

In 2001, a large study in six European countries showed that continuous deep sedation was used in up to 8.5% of all deaths, among patients with cancer and other diseases, and provided in as well as outside hospital.

In 2005, researchers repeated this study using a random sample of over 6,500 deaths that occurred in the Netherlands between August and November 2005. Physicians were surveyed about their medical decisions for the non-sudden deaths.

The use of continuous deep sedation increased from 5.6% of deaths in 2001 to 7.1% in 2005 (an increase of 1800 cases). The increase occurred mostly in patients with cancer who were treated by a general practitioner. In contrast, the use of euthanasia decreased from 2.6% of all deaths in 2001 to 1.7% of all deaths in 2005 (a decrease of 1200 cases).

In about four out of five of cases, sedation was induced by benzodiazepines, and in 94% patients were sedated for less than one week until death. Only 9% of physicians consulted a palliative expert.

About one in ten patients who received continuous deep sedation had previously requested euthanasia or assisted suicide but it had not been granted.

Possible explanations for these trends include increased knowledge and media attention about continuous deep sedation, say the authors. Their findings suggest that continuous deep sedation is increasingly considered part of regular medical practice in the Netherlands.

They call for future research to focus on the underlying reasons for the use of continuous deep sedation.

This study provides some insight into end of life management of patients with intractable suffering, say researchers in an accompanying editorial.

They believe that further research must incorporate the perspectives of patients and families, as well as professionals from health care, spiritual care, social services, law and ethics. And they call for informed public debate about ethical and effective ways to alleviate persistent suffering at the end of life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Instead of Euthanasia: Continuous Deep Sedation Used Increasingly In The Netherlands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320205207.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, March 21). Instead of Euthanasia: Continuous Deep Sedation Used Increasingly In The Netherlands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320205207.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Instead of Euthanasia: Continuous Deep Sedation Used Increasingly In The Netherlands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320205207.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins