The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine

Title

The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine

Creator

Cassel EJ

Publisher

The New England Journal Of Medicine

Date

1982

Subject

Humans; Emotions; Sick Role; Holistic Health; Philosophy; Medical; Therapeutics; Disease; Research Support; U.S. Gov't; Philosophy; Pain/psychology; Non-P.H.S.; Patients/psychology

Description

The question of suffering and its relation to organic illness has rarely been addressed in the medical literature. This article offers a description of the nature and causes of suffering in patients undergoing medical treatment. A distinction based on clinical observations is made between suffering and physical distress. Suffering is experienced by persons, not merely by bodies, and has its source in challenges that threaten the intactness of the person as a complex social and psychological entity. Suffering can include physical pain but is by no means limited to it. The relief of suffering and the cure of disease must be seen as twin obligations of a medical profession that is truly dedicated to the care of the sick. Physicians' failure to understand the nature of suffering can result in medical intervention that (though technically adequate) not only fails to relieve suffering but becomes a source of suffering itself.
1982

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

639-645

Issue

11

Volume

306

Citation

Cassel EJ, “The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed October 15, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/12507.

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