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Minerva Anestesiologica 2017 May;83(5):524-8

DOI: 10.23736/S0375-9393.16.11736-5

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Palliative sedation: the position statement of the Italian National Committee for Bioethics

Luciano ORSI 1, Giuseppe R. GRISTINA 2

1 Private Practitioner, Milan, Italy; 2 Italian Society of Anesthesia Analgesia and Intensive Care, SIAARTI, Rome, Italy


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In January 2016 the Italian National Bioethics Committee (NBC) published a position statement entitled Deep and continuous palliative sedation in the imminence of death, related to the use of sedation and analgesia for relief from pain and psychological distress in dying patients. In this statement the Committee points out the clinical and ethical appropriateness of palliative sedation as a therapeutic procedure. As a result, today palliative sedation has to be considered useful, scientifically safe and reliable, and acknowledged as an integral part of good clinical practice. At the same time, the position statement, once and for all, makes clear that palliative sedation cannot and must not be equated with the practice of euthanasia. Thus, this document should be known by health professionals caring for dying patients not only in palliative as well as in intensive care settings, but it should be also considered as a milestone aimed to encourage and ease a widespread implementation of this procedure in all health care settings.


KEY WORDS: Palliative medicine - Terminal care - Bioethics

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