Year: 1997 Source: Nursing Times, v.93, no.31, (July 30-August 5, 1997), p.15 SIEC No: 19980354

The “double effect” that doctors find themselves in when prescribing analgesics/sedatives to patients in severe pain is discussed in this article. This double effect arises because while the drugs doctors prescribe may lessen pain, they can also hasten the patient’s life. Thus, questions asking if this is a form of euthanasia arise. Four conditions are suggested to help one decide if administering the drug justifies the risk of shortening the patient’s life.