Believe the patient about her pain

2017 March 21
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“Even when we suspected that a part of her pain could be psychological, we never doubted that her pain was genuine,” writes Dr M. S. Biji, a palliative care physician, about a 19-year old named Jeny who was admitted to her hospital with cancer.

Jeny had excruciating pain, but she was not responding to morphine, which she was taking every 4 hours. Even with increased doses of morphine, her pain was not getting better and she was sweating all the time. For a while, this made some members in the treating team wonder if she really did have pain.

Could it be possible that Jeny had some underlying depression making her feel severe pain? Emotional issues could greatly contribute to pain and that kind of pain would be unlikely to respond to opioids. But on careful observation, they came to the conclusion that poor control of pain was perhaps caused only by inadequate dose of morphine. So they kept increasing the dose of morphine, and sure enough, Jeny’s pain came under control.

Dr Biji observes: “Pain in cancer, in many instances is under-diagnosed or under-treated. Failure to assess pain is a major factor leading to under-treatment.” When the palliative care team believed the young woman’s report of her pain, they were able to arrive at the right combination of medicines to treat her pain, and to relieve her intolerable suffering.

Please read the complete article, Believing Jeny About Her Pain, published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy.

The Journal of Pain and Palliative care Pharmacotherapy is an indexed journal that has made the narratives free access. The journal welcomes your Narratives on Pain, Suffering and Relief. Tell your story to the world and help improve palliative care awareness. If you have a story to narrate, share it with us. Write to info@palliumindia.org

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