Word + Quiz: palliative

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Word + Quiz: palliative

adjective: moderating pain or sorrow by making it easier to bear

noun: remedy that alleviates pain without curing

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The word palliative has appeared in 64 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on June 7 in “The Elderly Are Getting Complex Surgeries. Often It Doesn’t End Well” by Paula Span:

Dr. Schwarze helped care for a woman, 77, who contended with multiple health problems, including heart failure, weakened kidneys and emphysema.

… Her surgeon, Dr. Schwarze’s colleague, carefully explained to the woman that her odds of surviving surgery were about 50 percent (“which I think was a little optimistic,” Dr. Schwarze noted). Afterward, the patient would likely require ongoing dialysis and might remain indefinitely on a ventilator.

The surgeon made clear that, alternatively, she could choose a palliative approach to maintain comfort. Despite his concerns, the woman opted for surgery.

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