Treat the Pain / Life before Death

In Collaboration with

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

17. Pain in China

About this Video

Dr Mary Cardosa (Malaysia), Dr Andrew Young (China), Dr Anne Lee (Hong Kong), Faye Chan (Hong Kong), Dr Xishan Hao (China) provide notable quotes:

“There’s a cultural fear with the use of opioids, not just among the health care providers but also among the public,” reflects Dr Mary Cardosa (Malaysia). “Patients have the perception that; ‘if I use morphine that means I’m going to die’. Those are all factors that will reduce the use of these drugs and the treatment of pain.”

“Many of the patients in China, especially the terminal cancer patients, they do suffer severe pain in the course of dying” reports Dr Andrew Young (China).

“As Chinese we are very concerned about opium,” states Dr Anne Lee (Hong Kong).

“Some people say that it could be rooted back to our Chinese history with the Opium Wars,” considers Faye Chan (Hong Kong). “People are very reluctant. They are scared of dependence issues as well. Not just the public, sometimes the health care professionals.”

“Around 60 to 80 per cent of the doctors have opiophobia – they fear to use opiate drugs, or morphine,” reveals Dr Young.

“We try to see how Chinese medicine can help in pain control as well,” explains Dr Lee.

“Some forms of Chinese medicine also work,” continues Dr Xishan Hao (China). “They do not work as well as opioids. For severe pain they don’t work at all. But for the light pain at the beginning, Chinese medicine, and especially acupuncture, can play a role in cancer pain control.”

“When patients come to my hospice ward, I tell them; ‘I can guarantee you two things’,” explains Dr Young. “One is that the patient must die, and will die very soon. But the second promise is, ‘I promise and guarantee a peaceful dying for the patient.”

Call to Action

  • Invite a Chinese healthcare professional you know to watch this video and share it with colleagues
  • Ask what can be done to improve pain control in China
  • Share your experiences in the comments section below…

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