Review Articles
Volume 6 Issue 3 - 2020
Can We Diagnose Suffering in Patients?
Bustan Smadar
1Institut Humanités, Sciences et Sociétés, University of Paris Diderot (Sorbonne-Cité), Paris, France
2Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany
*Corresponding Author: Bustan Smadar, Institut Humanités, Sciences et Sociétés, University of Paris Diderot (Sorbonne-Cité), Paris, France and Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.
Received: November 01, 2019; Published: February 26, 2020


Eric Cassell introduced his demand that physicians be more attentive to assessing the suffering of their patients as one of the fundamental goals of medicine. This call was indeed taken into account by health professionals but remained difficult to satisfy in the absence of appropriate measures. In addition, the focus on end-of-life suffering in palliative care has excluded, in the vast majority of cases, patients with chronic medical conditions like chronic pain whose on-going suffering is part of everyday life. To fill this gap, my integrative approach relies on both philosophical, psychobiological and clinical concepts seeking to provide a measure accompanied by an interpretation of the person’s suffering. The practical goal is to provide a simple and effective clinical tool to assess the degree of suffering related to pain and to characterize its specific nature in each patient, allowing a more precise diagnosis and more individualized management of chronic patients. In specifically answering the question « Can we measure Pain- related Suffering? », this article addresses the main issues, both conceptual and methodological, attached to the diagnosis of suffering using pain as a study case in order to instruct the development of an illness-related suffering assessment tool for medical use.

Keywords: Human Suffering; Chronic Pain; Measurement; Meaning; Suffering Assessment Tool; Chronic Illnesses; Philosophy; Experimental Studies; Clinical Studies


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Citation: Bustan Smadar. “Can We Diagnose Suffering in Patients?”. EC Anaesthesia 6.3 (2020): 01-04.

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