LIFE Before Death #5: What Is Pain?

2011 June 18
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Short Film 5 of 50 in the LIFE Before Death documentary series about the global crisis in untreated pain and the dramatic life changing affect palliative care services can deliver to patients and their families around the world.

In What Is Pain? we discover the technical definition of pain and the impact it can have on a person’s total well being through its deterioration of an individual’s autonomy. Illustrating the magnitude of its influence, we hear doctors reflecting on patient’s testimony saying they would do anything to be relieved of their pain.

“Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage,” explains Professor Michael Cousins (Australia). He goes further to discuss the shortcomings in the treatment of pain. Mary Callaway (USA) underscores the importance of young doctors believing patients’ pain experiences. “The patient says he’s in pain, the patient’s in pain, and then you need to figure out how to measure it, and we know how to measure it, and track it over time.” Dr Jim Cleary (Australia) and Liliana De Lima (Colombia) reiterate the deeply subjective nature of pain.

Cancer patients Bob (Australia) and Bernard (Singapore) describe the debilitating impact that pain has had on their quality of life. Sickle cell patient Teena (USA) goes further by explaining how she scores her pain and when she knows her threshold has been reached.

Featuring Dr Liz Gwyther (South Africa), Professor Michael Cousins (Australia), Dr Jay Thomas (USA), Mary Calloway (USA), Dr Kathleen Foley (USA), Dr Jim Cleary (Australia), Liliana De Lima (Colombia), Bob (Australia), Bernard (Singapore) and Teena (USA).

If you’ve missed previous episodes, catch up on the┬áLIFE Before Death website…

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