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March 15, 2006

Dying Patients and Palliative Sedation

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(11):1249-1250. doi:10.1001/jama.295.11.1250-a

To the Editor: In their article on palliative sedation in dying patients, Drs Lo and Rubenfeld1 present the ethical foundation for the administration of palliative sedation for moribund patients. The authors extend their argument: “Palliative sedation might also be considered for patients who are terminally ill but not moribund, in cases involving the withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration, and in cases involving existential distress rather than physical symptoms.” The reasoning that supports a role for palliative sedation in these clinical circumstances is not detailed, so the authors' opinions are more ethically problematic.

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