The COMECE Working Group on Ethics in Research and Healthcare has produced an opinion on the subject of palliative care. The document comes amid discussions on the topic within the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission.
The COMECE report reflects on how medical competence is best combined with the most humane techniques adopted by health professionals to guarantee an optimum level of care for a vulnerable and dependent population group. The COMECE working group highly praises all efforts in palliative care but warns that “euthanasia (that is to say, all behaviour with the aim of provoking death in order to avoid suffering) does not form any part of palliative care.”
The working group continues, saying, “It is vital to avoid all ambiguity on this subject. Intentionally bringing on the death of a patient, even if he asks for it, does not constitute caring for him.”
The full COMECE opinion on palliative care can be downloaded here.
COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, is made up of bishops delegated by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of the 28 Member States of the European Union. Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor is the COMECE representative from the Irish Bishops’ Conference.