Pain: highlighting the law and ethics of pain relief in end-of-life patients


As the world of palliative medicine is rapidly becoming a fixture in the pre-hospital field of practice, this article looks to explore the ethical and legal issues surrounding pain relief for end-of-life patients by paramedics.Particular attention is focused on the moral and ethical principles of care as proposed by Beauchamp and Childress (2008), as well as the legal aspects of care as set out by the European Court of Human Rights. Through the use of law cases, this article looks to demonstrate precedence for practice, as well as the implications that arise thereof.This article concludes that, although many aspects are still a grey area for paramedics, the depth of law cases, alongside the moral arguments, show that providing paramedics act with the best interests of the patient at heart and work within a multi-disciplinary team, the administration of analgesia to prevent suffering can be legally and ethically proven.

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