Palliative Sedation and What Constitutes Active Dying: A Case of Severe Progressive Dystonia and Intractable Pain

Academic Article


  • We present the case of a 34-year-old woman with Klippel-Feil syndrome who developed progressive generalized dystonia of unclear etiology, resulting in intractable pain despite aggressive medical and surgical interventions. Ultimately, palliative sedation was required to relieve suffering. Herein, we describe ethical considerations including defining sedation, determining prognosis in the setting of an undefined neurodegenerative condition, and use of treatments that concurrently might prolong or alter end-of-life trajectory. We highlight pertinent literature and how it may be applied in challenging and unique clinical situations. Finally, we discuss the need for expert multidisciplinary involvement when implementing palliative sedation and illustrate that procedures and rules need to be interpreted to deliver optimal patient-centered plan of care.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Strand JJ; Feely MA; Kramer NM; Moeschler SM; Swetz KM
  • Start Page

  • 363
  • End Page

  • 368
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 4