Palliative Sedation – Is It a Real Dilemma?

Nathan Emmerich*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Given the extensive literature on the topic it seems clear that palliative sedation raises particularly challenging ethical questions. Nevertheless, Savulescu and Radcliffe-Richards (Anaesthesia., 2019) have recently suggested that patients not only have a right to be given analgesia and sedation in response to pain but also have a right to be rendered unconscious if and when this is required to effectively manage their pain. This essay follows a similar line of reasoning and suggests that the extensive ethical analysis of palliative sedation may result in an overabundance of ethical caution that has the potential to lead to patients suffering needlessly. Thus I offer a corrective and argue that the clinical needs of dying patients should be foregrounded. Furthermore, whilst existing ethical debates about various forms and facets of palliative sedation and, in particular, continuous deep sedation contain important points, it is nevertheless the case that the ethical imperative practicing healthcare professionals involved in end of life care should be most concerned with is the alleviation and management of pain and suffering.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdvancing Global Bioethics
    PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Publication series

    NameAdvancing Global Bioethics
    ISSN (Print)2212-652X
    ISSN (Electronic)2212-6538


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