Comforting when we cannot heal: the ethics of palliative sedation
- 464 Downloads
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.
KeywordsDouble effect Ends of medicine Euthanasia Relief of suffering Unconsciousness as a good
- 1.Kass, Leon R. 1985. Practicing prudently: Ethical dilemmas in caring for the ill. In Toward a more natural science: Biology and human affairs, 187–210. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- 2.Lo, Bernard, and Gordon Rubenfeld. 2005. Palliative sedation in dying patients: “We turn to it when everything else hasn’t worked.” Journal of the American Medical Association 294: 1810–1816.Google Scholar
- 3.Byock, Ira. 1997. Dying well: Peace and possibilities at the end of life. New York: Riverhead.Google Scholar
- 4.American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. 2014. Palliative sedation position statement, December 5. http://aahpm.org/positions/palliative-sedation.
- 5.Ramsey, Paul. 1997. The patient as person: Explorations in medical ethics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar