Pain and the Ethics of Pain Management
Edwards, Rem B.
Social Science and Medicine. 1984; 18(6): 515-523.
After clarifying the concepts of "pain", "suffering", "pain of body", and "pain of soul", the author presents a humanistic ethic of pain management based on the premise that the patient has a strong "prima facie" right to freedom from unnecessary pain. This premise imposes two moral obligations upon medical professionals: (1) the duty not to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering upon the patient, and (2) the duty to do whatever is possible to alleviate pain and suffering. Both the questions of informed consent to treatment of pain and the right to refuse pain relief are addressed. (KIE abstract)