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morphine & death
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morphine & death

Hi i have a relative whom is in probably there last week of life. My aunt has the conception that if you are given morphine at the end it is to speed up the dying process so you will not suffer. I don't believe this is correct but I wanted to check with someone before I made a wrong comment to her.
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Hi Kin,

Welcome to the Senior Health Forum. I am sorry to hear about your terminal relative. You've question that is filled with controversies and some old beliefs.  I recently went through this very issue while my father was in my home, dying and on Hospice.

Evidence over the past 20 years has repeatedly shown that, used correctly, morphine is well tolerated and does not shorten life or hasten death. Its sedative effects wear off quickly (making it useless if you want to stay unconscious), toxic doses can cause distressing agitation (which is why such doses are never used in palliative care), and it has a wide therapeutic range (making death unlikely).

It is my sincere belief and a proven fact that any opiate reduces respiratory function. However and more importantly when administered correctly it eases pain and provides the dying pain some peace and comfort. The "old" belief was that Morphine was administered to hasten death, not true. However you will have a difficult time convincing many of the older generation that it is given for any other reason but to hasten death. Indeed that may have been a factor 75 years ago. I do not know. Today we have learned much about end of life care and management. Morphine is very short acting. I saw what opiates did for my father. I would not have wanted him to have any more or any less then what was prescribed.  

When the Holy Spirit sent His Angels for my father, he went peacefully and quickly. Isn't that what we want for all those we love? I did not want to see my father squirm in pain or gasp for air. Opiates controlled those end of life issues.

I hope this has helped answer your questions. You will find additional information if you Goggle  "Morphine, End of Life Treatment."

Blessing to you and your loved one.
~Tuck
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Indore, India