ETHICS IN DECISIONS ABOUT THE END OF LIFE - THE IMPORTANCE OF PALLIATIVE CARE

  • Ana Dias Neto
Keywords: Bioethics principles, curative medicine, end-of-life decision makers, ethic, human suffering, living will, pain, palliative care, patient

Abstract

When Curative Medicine no longer has any effect on a patient’s clinical picture because his state is definitely irreversible, it becomes urgent to give assistance to anyone who is in the final stage of living. And because, quite often, this phase is preceded by enormous pain and suffering, which contributes to the loss of quality of life, the aim of Palliative Medicine is to fight it. Palliative Care exists as an interdisciplinary set directed at accompanying the terminal patient. It is an ethic, medical and psychological response to the final needs of the terminal patient. But we should never overstep the boundaries of human dignity and the patient’s choices. That is to say, it is acceptable to maintain the quality of life, but not when the means are disproportional, useless or absolutely contradict what is contemplated, for example, in the patient’s Living Will. In Portugal, Palliative Medicine has progressively gained space, both physically (through an increasing number of palliative care units through the country) and in terms of government awareness (to assure the proliferation and logistic assistance to palliative care). The aim is that the terminal patient, regardless of his economic and social conditions, has access to Palliative Medicine and be fully entitled to his right to health. The bioethics principles of Autonomy, Beneficence, Nonmaleficence and Justice sympathize with the palliative care which each patient agrees to submit to and to which he is entitled in order to maximize the benefits of the treatment and minimize its damages.

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Published
2016-09-05
How to Cite
Neto, A. D. (2016). ETHICS IN DECISIONS ABOUT THE END OF LIFE - THE IMPORTANCE OF PALLIATIVE CARE. NASCER E CRESCER - BIRTH AND GROWTH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 22(4), 252-256. https://doi.org/10.25753/BirthGrowthMJ.v22.i4.9910
Section
Current Perspectives in Bioethics