Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 211–220 | Cite as

Comforting when we cannot heal: the ethics of palliative sedation

  • Gilbert MeilaenderEmail author


This essay considers whether palliative sedation is or is not appropriate medical care. This requires one to consider (a) whether, in addition to the good of health, relief of suffering is also a proper end of medicine; (b) whether unconsciousness can ever be a good for a human being; and (c) how double-effect reasoning can help us think about difficult cases. The author concludes that palliative sedation may be proper medical care, but only in a limited range of cases.


Double effect Ends of medicine Euthanasia Relief of suffering Unconsciousness as a good 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Valparaiso UniversityValparaisoUSA

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