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Drugs used for those deemed dying

REMEMBER this is combined with withdrawal of water and food, which can affect the way the patient’s body responds (METABOLISES) the drugs.

All of the following can be given intravenously or subcutaneously under the skin. Medicine given in this way is absorbed slowly sometimes over 24 hours.

SEDATIVES
Known as benzodiazepines: a group of drugs used for sedation includes: Midazolam also known as Hypnovel.

This benzodiazepine drug is generally used for sedation, particularly in patients undergoing minor surgery, those in intensive care prior to anaesthesia.

In particular special care should be given to the elderly, debilitated patients, those with liver kidney or heart disease and lung disease, breathing difficulties and so on.

Side effects include: dizziness, headache, confusion, breathing difficulties, hallucinations, ataxia – lack of muscular coordination, euphoria, impairment of judgement and dexterity, convulsions,

Other side effects include anterograde amnesia – loss of memory of events long ago, skin rashes, slight increase in heartbeat, reddening of the skin, dilation of blood vessels, thrombosis and low blood pressure and so on.

OPIATES
Such as morphine also known as MST Continus (slow release) Oramorph, Sevredol, SRM Rhotard.

Be aware that the use of morphine as a pain killer can be very effective. The problem seems to arise from the combination of the drugs administered and the overuse of morphine. Also, as we pointed out the way in which the body metabolises (processes) drugs is affected by lack of fluids.

Morphine belongs to a group of drugs called narcotic analgesics.

Generally used to relieve severe pain caused by injury, surgery, heart attack, or chronic diseases such as cancer. It’s available as tablets, liquid, granules, injection, suppositories.

Very high doses can result in irregular breathing severe drowsiness or loss of consciousness. In the over 60s there is an increased likelihood of adverse effects.

Common side effects include: drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, constipation, dizziness. In rare cases confusion and breathing difficulties. Morphine can increase the sedative effects of other sedating drops including antidepressants, antipsychotics, sleeping drugs and antihistamines.

ATROPINIC AGENTS
Such as Hyosine, Hydrobromide or Buscopan. In this instance the drug is used to counter and reduce mucus secretions.

Side effects include: dilation of the pupils and  increased heart rate. Atropine and Scopolamine are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and are, therefore, likely to produce CNS (central nervous system) side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, delirium, hallucinations, paradoxical agitation, and restlessness.

Patients may be given one or all of these drugs.

Dr. Gillian Craig in “No Water – No Life Hydration and the Dying”, has this to say,

There are times in the care of the dying ‘when it is necessary to use benzodiazepines, phenothiazines and barbiturates to sedate a patient in order to relieve intolerable distress where dying is complicated by an agitated delirium or tracheal obstruction’. In skilled hands no person should die in pain whatever the cause of the illness. Whatever the underlying pathology ‘the cardinal ethical principle remains that the treatment goal must be achieved with the least risk to the patient’s life. As a last resort some advocate the use of high-dose analgesia and induction of sleep with continuous intravenous midazolam.
I would add – and in a manner that is acceptable to the patient’s closest relatives”.

Dr. Patrick Pullicino, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, in a letter sent to The Catholic Herald in which he comments on the kind of medicine being practised under the LCP.

Instead, a new kind of reverse-medicine is imposed, which treats confusion with sedatives (instead of avoidance of these), breathlessness with opiates which are usually contraindicated,” (works in the opposite direction) “and secretions with atropinic agents (which encourage pneumonia). These changes have been justified because they restore the ‘dignity’ of the dying patient – but they do in fact hasten death, even in individuals who are not imminently dying.