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Palliative care in the emergency department: An oxymoron or just good medicine?


  • William Lukin, MB BS, FACEM, Staff Specialist; Carol Douglas, MB BCh, FAChPM, Clinical Director; Alan O'Connor, MB BCh, FACEM, Associate Professor, Director.

Dr William Lukin, Emergency Department, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Qld 4006, Australia. Email:


In 2006, the American Board of Emergency Medicine co-sponsored hospice and palliative medicine as a recognized medical subspecialty. There is recognition of the need for these skills to be available in EDs in the USA. This article discusses the rationale for integrating a palliative approach in the ED. We need to engage our palliative care colleagues to increase clinical support to meet the needs of these vulnerable patients and to foster collaborative educational opportunities.