Entries in end of life (1)


Elizabeth Taylor, Pain Killers and End of Life Pain Management

With Elizabeth Taylor's death this week, there has been significant discussion about end of life pain management and the use of pain killers.  During her life, Taylor suffered many injuries, skin cancer, scoliosis, and 30 surgeries, before eventually succumbing to congestive heart failure.

ABC News has done a nice piece on the "Double Effect" or Taylor's challenge of using pain killers at the end of life when overuse or improper use of pain killers can actually hasten death.  Many pain killers like morphine and benzodiazepines are prescribed to alleviate the pain caused by medical conditions, BUT can actually make it harder to breathe, causing death in some instances.  Use of pain killers at the end of life is defended by many doctors.  Proper use of pain killers at the end of life can reduce pain so that pain sufferers can properly say goodbye to their loved ones.

Three doctors had been accused of overprescribing pain medication in 1990 to help Taylor manage her back pain.