Review Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 3, P381-401, July 2004

Pain management in the intensive care unit

  • Richard A. Mularski
    Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, 11301 Wilshire Boulevard, Mail code G111, Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA
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      The intensive care unit (ICU) is a unique care setting where critically ill patients receive state-of-the-art interventions that are aggressive and fast paced. The ambitions of intensive care medicine can powerfully manifest the two traditional goals of medicine: (1) to restore health (save the salvageable—provide therapies that achieve healing and realization of life), and (2) to relieve suffering (facilitate a peaceful and dignified death—provide sound palliative care and not prolong the process of dying) [
      • Raffin T.A.
      Ethical and legal aspects of forgoing life-sustaining treatments.
      • Mularski R.A.
      • Osborne M.L.
      The changing ethics of death in the ICU.
      ]. In the intensive care environment, attempts at curative therapy should not supplant palliation of pain.
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