Global Pain Crisis on CBS News

2012 March 12
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The media coverage of the global pain crisis appears to have truly hit the tipping point.

In a segment aired on March 11, “A world of pain,” CBS News in the USA discussed the pressing need for access to pain relief in the developing world.

The segment was developed with the research done by a group of University of British Columbia students in partnership with Al Jazeera. You may have already heard about their documentary, Freedom From Pain.

CBS News anchor Bob Simon spoke with Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher, Diederik Lohman, a tireless advocate for pain relief and palliative care in the developing world, who provided much needed context on how the pain crisis began and what needs to be done to ensure that no one suffers unnecessarily.

Diederik Lohman, Senior Researcher at HRW

“When we started working on this, I was actually struck by the parallels you see in the testimony you get from your traditional torture victim and someone who has cancer pain that is not relieved.

And so what you see is that your typical torture victim will sign a confession and the torture ends. The patient with pain doesn’t have that option.”

The news piece also includes a map of the world that shows the stark contrast between wealthy countries and poorer ones, in terms of their access to morphine for medical use. (@1m28s)

There are further interviews with palliative care leaders such as Dr. Anne Merriman and Dr. Mhoira Leng, and some heart wrenching but powerful stories of the hope that pain relief has brought to patients in Africa.

We congratulate the students at University of British Columbia, along with HRW and the others in the segment, for so clearly demonstrating to a US audience that pain relief is a basic human right.

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