Monday, May 14, 2007

New Text Added in Wikipedia on Suffering

Wikipedia article on suffering, section "Health care approaches":

Breaches in health such as disease and injury are a main source of suffering in humans and animals. The huge sphere of health care addresses that suffering in many ways, as can be seen in much details through various Wikipedia articles: Medicine, Psychotherapy, Alternative medicine, Health profession, Hygiene, Public health

Palliative care is presently the branch of medicine that is the most concerned with the relief of suffering as such. A concept of 'total pain' was thought of by pioneer Cicely Saunders for referring to the whole set of physical and mental distress, discomfort, symptoms, problems or needs that are painfully experienced by a patient. Textbooks authors like Robert Twycross or Roger Woodruff are now rather using the expression ‘total suffering’.[8]

Health care approaches to suffering remain highly problematic, according to Eric Cassell, which is the most often cited author on that subject: "The obligation of physicians to relieve human suffering stretches back to antiquity. Despite this fact, little attention is explicitly given to the problem of suffering in medical education, research or practice." "In fact, the central assumptions on which twentieth-century medicine is founded provide no basis for an understanding of suffering. For pain, difficulty in breathing, or other afflictions of the body, superbly yes; for suffering, no." Cassell proposes to define suffering as "the state of severe distress associated with events that threaten the intactness of the person."[9]