Term Paper: Palliative Care Is Defined

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Palliative care is defined as care which will improve the quality of life

for a patient and the patient's family when they face life threatening

illness. Palliative care provides prevention and relief of suffering on

the part of the patient. It includes the identification of discomfort, the

treatment of pain and the support of the patient and families in the

physical, psychosocial and spiritual spheres. By definition, palliative

care will neither hasten or postpones death, but rather makes the attempt

to approach death as a normal process, allowing the patient to live as

actively and maintain as much control as possible until death occurs.

In Will's case, the administration of palliative care, by definition,

cannot include the administration of the morphine at such a dose to hasten

his death. This would be defined as euthanasia, which Will is requesting

by the administration of the morphine. Were Will still able to administer

the medication on his own, via activation of his PCA pump, then the act

would be considered passive euthanasia since the likelihood is that the

dose of the medication will suppress Will's respiratory drive rather than

simply treat his pain. The administration of morphine in such doses is

considered ethical in most political jurisdictions, and by most medical

societies. In Will's case, should the physician administer the medication

in such a dose as to suppress Will's respiratory drive, the motive for the

physician would be one of mercy. The difference between this and physician

assisted suicide is the intent behind the act. Physician assisted suicide

is not legal in most states, and the intent behind this act is to allow the

patient to end his or her own life. In Will's case, the physician may

hasten death but the primary reason for the administration of the

medication is to alleviate Will's severe pain and suffering. In this case,

palliative care may in effect hasten Will's death, but that will not be the

primary reason for the administration of his morphine. Ethically and

legally,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Palliative Care Is Defined.  (2007, July 30).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/palliative-care-defined/846288

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"Palliative Care Is Defined."  30 July 2007.  Web.  11 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/palliative-care-defined/846288>.

Chicago Format

"Palliative Care Is Defined."  Essaytown.com.  July 30, 2007.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/palliative-care-defined/846288.