Ethics in Palliative CareA Complete Guide

Ethics in Palliative CareA Complete Guide

Robert C. Macauley

Print publication date: Mar 2018

ISBN: 9780199313945

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

No specialty faces more diverse and challenging ethical dilemmas than palliative medicine. What is the best way to plan ahead for the end of life? How should physicians respond when patients refuse treatments likely to be beneficial or demand treatments not likely to be? Who makes medical decisions for patients who are too ill to decide for themselves? Do patients have the “right to die” (and, if so, what exactly does that mean)? Other ethics texts have explored these issues but often from an academic perspective that overlooks the practical realities of clinical medicine. Conversely, medical textbooks frequently lack sufficient philosophical depth to fully explore the complexities of these issues. This complete guide to the ethics of palliative care combines clinical experience with philosophical rigor to provide a comprehensive analysis of this fascinating field. Using relevant case studies, core subjects such as intensive symptom management at the end of life, physician-assisted dying, and palliative sedation are examined from historical, legal, clinical, and ethical perspectives. Whereas pediatric issues are often an afterthought in palliative care textbooks, this guide explores the unique nature of ethical dilemmas in the prenatal, neonatal, and adolescent age groups. Other important topics such as neuro-palliative care, organ donation, research, and moral distress are also covered in detail. Written with clinical nuance for medical professionals—and clear language as well as a glossary for lay readers—this guide offers all readers an opportunity to explore and understand the fascinating ethical issues facing patients suffering from life-threatening illness.