About this Video
Leaders in pain control and palliative care, including Dr Kathleen Foley (USA), Dr Willem Scholten (World Health Organization), Dr Liz Gwyther (South Africa), Dr Snezana Bosnjak (Serbia), Mary Callaway (USA), Dr MR Rajagopal (India), Eugene Murray (Ireland) and Dr Jim Cleary (Australia) debate whether torture is actually taking place in health services around the world:
Dr Kathleen Foley (USA) poses the question, “What is the solution to torture in health care?”
“There is a difference between torture and not acting,” points out Dr Willem Scholten (World Health Organization).
“People are very hung up on the torture word,” reflects Mary Callaway (USA). The sentiments of Dr Liz Gwyther (South Africa) and Dr Snezana Bosnjak (Serbia) reiterate the sensitivity around the language of torture.
Dr MR Rajagopal (India) tells the harrowing story of a former patient who threatened to commit suicide in front of his health clinic when stocks of morphine ran out. “It is torture when we willfully refuse to do something about it.”
Eugene Murray (Ireland) supports this position. “What can be more degrading to a person than to have them in severe pain when they’re dying… It is torture by neglect.”
Dr Kathleen Foley identifies that the issue of fundamental human rights becomes a consideration when we consider the failure to deliver satisfactory pain control as an act of torture.
“I think people are suffering and should people have to suffer unnecessarily?” asks Dr Jim Cleary (Australia). “All around the world people are suffering and they shouldn’t have to.”
Call to Action
- Tell several physicians and nurses you know to watch this video
- Facilitate a discussion with them about medical neglect as torture; does it exist it your community?
- Share your experiences in the comments section below…
- Missouri Dept. of Social Services, Child Welfare Manual, Definition of Medical Neglect: The denial or deprivation, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child, of medical or surgical treatment or intervention which is necessary to remedy or ameliorate a medical condition which is life threatening or causes injury. Medical Neglect includes not only serious, but mild and moderate medical neglect as well.
- Human Rights Watch: Global State of Pain Treatment
- Human Rights Watch: The Global Fight for Pain Relief
- IAHPC – WPCA Palliative Care and Pain Treatment as Human Rights
- The ‘Stop Torture In Health Care’ campaign, an initiative of the Open Society Foundations
- Untreated Pain and Torture in Healthcare
- Medicine and torture: the struggle for human rights, Philip Berger (open access)
- Torture: The Bioethics Perspective, The Hastings Center (open access)
- Opioid Inaccessibility and Its Human Consequences: Reports from the Field, Eric Krakauer