In the wake of extensive discussion regarding the ethics of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, a more subtle debate is evolving around the topic of palliative sedation. Specifically, this is the administration of sedatives to terminally ill patients to relieve severe, treatment-refractory suffering due to the underlying illness. Palliative sedation has not been made obsolete by recent advances in pain management and symptom control; instead, it retains a vital role in managing select patients at the end of life. Rather than merely a disguised form of euthanasia, it is a morally distinct, ethically permissible option when exercised within appropriate limits.



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