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The Value of Palliative Medicine—not another definition!
  1. Tzeela Cohen and
  2. Simon Wein
  1. Palliative Care, Beilinson Hospital, Petah Tikvah, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon Wein, Beilinson Hospital, Petah Tikva, Israel; SimonWe{at}

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A definition can be a tricky thing. There is one definition of an electron. There are many definitions of palliative care.1–3 Why?

There are many reasons. The practice of medicine is changing as are its clinical outcomes. Since palliative medicine is not defined by a single anatomical organ or physiological system, its purview is different with each medical specialty. One research paper concluded that four elements were common to defining palliative care: ‘target groups, structure, tasks and expertise’. Two of these elements—group and structure—are prescriptive, not functional, and so will cause the ‘definition’ to have to change and adapt with the circumstances.2

Further complicating relying on a definition are differences in medical culture and ethics, between and within societies. Additionally, how far should …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed equally to the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.