I am a 4th year medical student interested in pursuing a career in Pain Management and Palliative Care.
Is it Halal to give Morphine to terminally ill patients dying of cancer (i.e. patients with an estimated few months to live)? Morphine would be given to dull the intense and excruciating pain of these patients.
Personally, I think that it should be Halal and here is my line of reasoning...
If a completely healthy person uses Morphine, he does it and immediately this fogs his senses. Thus, it is HARMFUL for the healthy person to use Morphine. Furthermore, he is likely to get addicted to the substance which would become a life-long struggle of dependancy on the drug. Thus, Morphine is contra-indicated because it can lead to long-term dependancy.
However, the situation for a terminally ill patient is dramatically different. He only has a few months to live. Thus, long-term dependancy is no longer a worry. Long-term dependancy is a non-issue now, for obvious reasons. The Morphine in a terminally ill patient is removing HARM, hurt, and pain from the patient's life. Its benefits thus far outweigh any potential risk or harm. In fact, doctors would say that there are no downsides to using such palliative care since the prognosis of these patients is already so poor.
This is of course only my reasoning and I am interested in what the scholars have said on this issue. I posted this in Hanafi section but I am open to any Madhab's opinion on the issue. Jazakhullah Khairun.