Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Morphine To Hasten Death Is A Myth, Says Doctor

Date:
March 5, 2007
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Using morphine to end a person's life is a myth, argues a senior doctor in a recent letter in the British Medical Journal. It follows the case of Kelly Taylor, a terminally ill woman who went to court earlier this month for the right to be sedated into unconsciousness by morphine, even though it will hasten her death.

Using morphine to end a person's life is a myth, argues a senior doctor in a letter recent letter in the British Medical Journal.

It follows the case of Kelly Taylor, a terminally ill woman who went to court earlier this month for the right to be sedated into unconsciousness by morphine, even though it will hasten her death.

Mrs Taylor's request to use morphine to make her unconscious under the principle of double effect is a puzzling choice, writes Claud Regnard, a consultant in palliative care medicine. The principle of double effect allows a doctor to administer treatment that hastens death, providing the intention is to relieve pain rather than to kill.

Evidence over the past 20 years has repeatedly shown that, used correctly, morphine is well tolerated and does not shorten life or hasten death, he explains. Its sedative effects wear off quickly (making it useless if you want to stay unconscious), toxic doses can cause distressing agitation (which is why such doses are never used in palliative care), and it has a wide therapeutic range (making death unlikely).

The Dutch know this and hardly ever use morphine for euthanasia, he writes.

Palliative care specialists are not faced with the dilemma of controlling severe pain at the risk of killing the patient - they manage pain with drugs and doses adjusted to each individual patient, while at the same time helping fear, depression and spiritual distress, he adds.

And he warns that doctors who act precipitously with high, often intravenous, doses of opioids are being misled into bad practice by the continuing promotion of double effect as a real and essential phenomenon in end of life care.

Using double effect as a justification for patient assisted suicide and euthanasia is not tenable in evidence-based medicine, he says. In end of life care, double effect is a myth leading a double life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Using Morphine To Hasten Death Is A Myth, Says Doctor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082741.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2007, March 5). Using Morphine To Hasten Death Is A Myth, Says Doctor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082741.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Using Morphine To Hasten Death Is A Myth, Says Doctor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070302082741.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins