Sedation Before Ventilator Withdrawal: Medical and Ethical Considerations
Truog, Robert D.
Arnold, John H.
Rockoff, Mark A.
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1991 Summer; 2(2): 127-129.
...While clinical practice is clearly moving toward more compassionate use of sedatives and analgesics in the care of the dying, the legal system has been lagging behind most ethical opinions in this area. The criminal investigation into the administration of morphine to a patient before ventilator withdrawal in Minnesota was a grim reminder of the hazards sometimes involved in the practice of good medicine. We know of several instances where a nurse was willing to administer sedatives and analgesics at the request of a physician, but without documentation in the medical record, for fear of possible legal repercussions. The fact that the caregivers involved are willing to risk the potentially disastrous consequences of falsifying a medical record can be taken as evidence of their commitment to doing what they perceive to be morally required. Nevertheless, this practice should clearly be condemned, since it gives the impression that caregivers are engaged in an unlawful or unethical practice. Only through continued forthright discussion in the medical literature can we arrive at ethically defensible approaches to administering sedation and analgesia that assure the most compassionate care of the dying patient.
Active Euthanasia; Allowing to Die; Attitudes; Attitudes to Death; Caregivers; Death; Double Effect; Drugs; Euthanasia; Health; Health Personnel; Legal Aspects; Literature; Medicine; Moral Policy; Pain; Physicians; Prognosis; Public Policy; Risk; Risks and Benefits; Sedatives; Suffering; Terminal Care; Ventilators; Withholding Treatment;
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Truog, Robert D.; Arnold, John H.; Rockoff, Mark A. (1991)...While clinical practice is clearly moving toward more compassionate use of sedatives and analgesics in the care of the dying, the legal system has been lagging behind most ethical opinions in this area. The criminal ...