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Nearing End Of Life From Breast Cancer

An Option: Terminal Sedation

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Terminal sedation is the use of drugs to relieve distress and pain at the end of life. Terminal sedation generally renders a person unconscious so you sleep peacefully and painlessly until death.

Terminal sedation is not euthanasia which uses drugs for the purpose of inducing death. With terminal sedation, an earlier death may be a by-product of the treatment. However, it is not the purpose.

Terminal sedation can be given in a hospital, in a hospice or at home.

Terminal sedation is legal. It is not considered suicide or assisted suicide.

If you become unconscious, the person you appoint to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them yourself (your “health care proxy”) can ask for terminal sedation to relieve pain and discomfort. Your proxy can also decide when it is time to withdraw all life-extending treatments - including feeding and even fluids. (To learn about proxies, see Health Care Power of Attorney.

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