The Delineation and Explication of Palliative Options of Last Resort
Palliative options of last resort have become a major focus of ethical debates over improving care of the dying, particularly in the United States. This chapter will explore a broad spectrum of palliative measures that may be considered legitimate approaches to end-of-life pain and suffering, including high-dose opioid analgesia, palliative sedation, lethal prescription (where allowed by law), as well a brief discussion of voluntary active euthanasia (lethal injection). In reviewing palliative options of last resort, this chapter will address related considerations such as debates over proper terminology, the role of intent and causation in making moral judgments about palliative measures, including the Doctrine/Principle/Rule of Double Effect (hereinafter DDE), and the persistence of myths about the risks and benefits associated with palliative measures.
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