Chapter

Choice and best interests: sedation to relieve otherwise intractable symptoms (terminal sedation)

Fiona Randall and R. S. Downie

in End of Life Choices

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547333
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730405 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547333.003.0006
Choice and best interests: sedation to relieve otherwise intractable symptoms (terminal sedation)

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This chapter examines patient choice and best interest issues in relation to the use of sedation to relieve otherwise intractable symptoms in end of life care. It identifies the moral problems which may be associated with sedation in end of life care. These include the possibility that the sedation may hasten or even cause death, the significant other harms and risks of sedation, and the moral relevance of the interests of others including relatives and staff. This chapter suggests that health care professionals must frequently review decisions concerning sedation as patients' clinical circumstances change due to progressive disease and they should be guided by the doctrine of double effect (DDE) in determining whether the sedation is ethically justifiable in a particular case.

Keywords: risks; best interest; sedation; relatives; doctrine of double effect

Chapter.  7881 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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