Preprint Review Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

Treatment, Palliative Care or Euthanasia? Comparing End of Life Issues in Human and Veterinary Medicine

Version 1 : Received: 4 April 2017 / Approved: 25 August 2017 / Online: 25 August 2017 (04:32:26 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 6 December 2017 / Approved: 7 December 2017 / Online: 7 December 2017 (05:20:50 CET)

How to cite: Eyre-Pugh, R.E. Treatment, Palliative Care or Euthanasia? Comparing End of Life Issues in Human and Veterinary Medicine. Preprints 2017, 2017080084 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201708.0084.v2). Eyre-Pugh, R.E. Treatment, Palliative Care or Euthanasia? Comparing End of Life Issues in Human and Veterinary Medicine. Preprints 2017, 2017080084 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201708.0084.v2).

Abstract

Not a lot is known about either death or the dying process. Politicians and many in the medical profession in the UK tend to shy away from interfering with it by not allowing euthanasia as an end of life option for the patient. This is the first paper in a series of two, comparing the situation in human medicine and veterinary medicine, in which euthanasia is well practiced for relieving suffering at the end of an animal’s life. This first part takes the form of a literature review including best practice around end of life care, its deficiencies and the need for assisted dying. Veterinary surgeons are well trained in the ethics of euthanasia and put it to good use in the best interest of their animal patients. In countries which have legalized physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill reporting indicates that it works well, without increases in involuntary euthanasia and most importantly without intimidation of the vulnerable. However, there is still an ever increasing tendency to overuse sedation and opioids at the end of life, which merits further investigation. With advances in medical science able to significantly prolong the dying process, patient autonomy demands a review of the law in the UK.

Subject Areas

euthanasia; veterinary ethics; medical ethics; end-of-life; assisted suicide; palliative care; assisted dying

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