It was in the entertaining movie series Mistresses that Dr. Karen Kim, a pyschologist, gives her patient, Thomas Grey, an overdose of morphine so that he can die peacefully. Thomas Grey is battling with a terminal illness and he wants a peaceful, yet comfortable way out. Dr. Karen Kim helps him out.
This must have formed a basis of many people arguing that morphine does speed up death in hospices.
One big misconception that people have about hospice care is that morphine drugs that are administered to end of life patients do speed up death. But the truth cannot be further from that. The role of morphine is not to speed up death but rather to manage pain as well as shortness of breath that most palliative care patients face.
When you are a cancer patient in the terminal stages of the disease, you will be battling with lots of pain. The palliative doctors and nurses will therefore prescribe that you get a daily dose of morphine that sedates you. This way, you are able to feel less pain and at the same time live comfortably in the end of life stages.
The mistruth that morphine makes death come faster is propagated by people who believe that going to the hospice means death. These are people who see palliative care as giving up all hope.
Morphine, which is an opioid, could cause death when abused
The stories about morphine causing death are not unfounded. According to the World Health Organization, morphine when abused is one of the opioids which if abused would cause breathing problems. It could even result to death.
But we need to know that hospice care is just a shift in thinking. It shows that you realize that the medication and treatment you were using are no longer working and so you need to stop being so preoccupied about getting healed. You shift hope and look to living comfortably where you are no longer feeling pain but seeing your relatives and making all things good even when you die.
According to an article on the National Institute on Aging, you need to comfortably take care of your old relatives who have terminal illness so that they can die peacefully.
With hospice care, you also get to hope for a peaceful death and going to the far beyond that has no pain or suffering.
Unfortunately, most people attend hospice care when they are too sick that it does not take long before they die in the hospice. When the medical personnel administer morphine to them to relieve pain, they believe that that fastens death.
In writing this article that seeks to support hospice care and the good work that palliative care does to terminally ill patients, I am cognizant to the fact that some medical people are unprofessional and might actually collude to kill patients. Yes, I have heard cases of hospices that administered a high dose of drugs so as to kill their patients. Some call it euthanasia while some rogues might be doing it for the money so that they can bill insurance companies for patients that die in their hands.
These people though are just an exception of what hospice care is all about. They are just a small group of people who want to destroy the good name of palliative care.