Book

The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Second edition

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156164
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199999880 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156164.001.0001
The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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This is a revised and expanded edition of a classic in palliative medicine, originally published in 1991, with three added chapters and a new preface summarizing our progress in the area of pain management. The obligation of physicians to relieve human suffering stretches back into antiquity. But what exactly, is suffering? One patient with cancer of the stomach, from which he knew he would shortly die, said he was not suffering. Another, someone who had been operated on for a minor problem—in little pain and not seemingly distressed—said that even coming into the hospital had been a source of pain and suffering. With such varied responses to the problem of suffering, inevitable questions arise. Is it the doctor's responsibility to treat the disease or the patient? And what is the relationship between suffering and the goals of medicine? According to the author of this book, these are crucial questions, but ones that have unfortunately remained only queries void of adequate solutions. It is time for the sick person, the author believes, to be not merely an important concern for physicians but the central focus of medicine. With this in mind, he argues for an understanding of what changes should be made in order to successfully treat the sick while alleviating suffering, and how to actually go about making these changes with the methods and training techniques firmly rooted in the doctor's relationship with the patient.

Keywords: palliative medicine; pain management; physicians; suffering; antiquity; patient; stomach cancer; disease; sick person; training techniques

Book.  334 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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Table of Contents

Ideas in Conflict in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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The Changing Concept of the Ideal Physician in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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The Nature of Suffering in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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Suffering in Chronic Illness in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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The Mysterious Relationship Between Doctor and Patient in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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How to Understand Diseases in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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The Pursuit of Disease or the Care of the Sick? in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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Treating the Disease, the Body, or the Patient in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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The Doctor and the Patient in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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Who Is This Person? in The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine

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