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01.12.2015 | main topic | Ausgabe 23-24/2015

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 23-24/2015

Walking the line. Palliative sedation for existential distress: still a controversial issue?

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 23-24/2015
Sophie Schur, Lukas Radbruch, Eva K. Masel, Dietmar Weixler, Herbert H. Watzke


Adequate symptom relief is a central aspect of medical care of all patients especially in those with an incurable disease. However, as an illness progresses and the end of life approaches, physical or psychoexistential symptoms may remain uncontrollable requiring palliative sedation. Although palliative sedation has become an increasingly implemented practice in the care of terminally ill patients, sedation in the management of refractory psychological symptoms and existential distress is still a controversial issue and much debated. This case report presents a patient who received palliative sedation for the treatment of existential distress and discusses considerations that may arise from such a therapeutic approach.

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