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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

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February 2024
Shani Ben Shetrit LLB LLM MA, Jamal Daghash MD, Daniel Sperling SJD BA (Philosophy)

In recent years, we have been experiencing a technological revolution, which signifies an ethical and societal transformation. Artificial intelligence (AI) based technologies have gradually permeated all aspects of life and solidified their position. Within this context, the emergence of these technologies offers new opportunities in the medical field, including palliative care, which is aimed at alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life for terminally ill patients and their families. In Israel, the Dying Patient Act of 2005 (the law), which promotes values such as the sanctity of life and individual autonomy, allows terminally ill patients to determine their preferred treatment, and withhold life-saving treatment under certain circumstances. The law represents a significant step toward improving care for terminally ill patients, reducing pain and suffering, and respecting the patient's wishes and worldviews in their final days. However, the practical implementation of the law has encountered numerous challenges, ranging from lack of familiarity among doctors and healthcare professionals and the requirement to determining life expectancy to fulfilling the law's purpose. These challenges are associated with ethical, cultural, and religious perspectives. In this article, we describe how AI-based technologies hold immense potential in applying the law and providing palliative care based on their predictive capabilities, prognostic accuracy, and optimization of treatment as well as communication between patients and healthcare providers. However, as an innovative, developing, and complex technology, it is crucial not to overlook the ethical, societal, and legal challenges inherent in implementing and using AI-based technologies in the context of palliative care.

September 2021
Shirly Shapiro MD, Ofer Lavie MD, Meirav Schmidt MD, Eran Ben Arye MD, Jamal Dagash MD, Alexander Yosipovich MD, and Yakir Segev MD

Background: Early referral to palliative care services in patients with advanced cancer is widely accepted. In addition, the use of futile intervention at the end of life is a pivotal aspect of assessing quality of care at that time.

Objectives: To evaluate the use of palliative care and aggressive treatments during the last month of life in women with gynecological malignancies.

Methods: The study was designed in two steps. The first step included a retrospective analysis of a gynecologic oncology cohort that underwent end-of-life (EOL) care. In the second part, a questionnaire regarding EOL care was completed by family members. Since our palliative care service became more active after 2014, we compared data from the years 2013–2014 to the years 2015–2019.

Results: We identified 89 patients who died from gynecological malignancy during study period; 21% received chemotherapy and 40% underwent invasive procedures during their last month of life. A palliative care consultation was documented for 49% of patients more than one week before their death. No statistical difference was achieved between the two time periods regarding the use of chemotherapy or invasive procedures in the last month of life. Nonetheless, after the incorporation of palliative medicine more women had palliative care consultations and had EOL discussions. Most of the patients’ relatives were satisfied with EOL care.

Conclusions: Many aggressive interventions were given during the last month of life. EOL discussions were documented in the medical charts of most patients and the rates increased with time.

February 2017
Ilit Turgeman MD and Gil Bar-Sela MD

A flowering plant of variegated ingredients and psychoactive qualities, cannabis has long been used for medicinal and recreational purposes. Currently, cannabis is approved in several countries for indications of symptomatic alleviation. However, limited knowledge on the benefits and risks precludes inclusion of cannabis in standard treatment guidelines. This review provides a summary of the available literature on the use of cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines in palliative oncology. Favorable outcomes are demonstrated for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and cancer-related pain, with evidence of advantageous neurological interactions. Benefit in the treatment of anorexia, insomnia and anxiety is also suggested. Short- and long-term side effects appear to be manageable and to subside after discontinuation of the drug. Finally, cannabinoids have shown anti-neoplastic effects in preclinical studies in a wide range of cancer cells and some animal models. Further research is needed before cannabis can become a part of evidence-based oncology practice.

June 2003
Y.M. Barilan

The ethical chapter of the Israel Medical Association has recently issued guidelines with regard to exual relationships between doctors and patients or past patients. This paper juxtaposes the paternalistic and severe attitude to doctor-patient sex with the relaxation and individualization of decisions regarding doctors' involvement in assisted suicide, passive and active euthanasia. The discussion bears on our concepts of palliative care and our expectations from it.

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