Summit: Pain Treatment As a Human Right

MONTREAL, Sept. 4 (UPI) — Eighty percent of people with chronic pain do not get relief and there are those want pain treatment to be a human right, an Australian pain expert says.

“This has gone on for too long. Pain has been regarded as a simple problem. It must be recognized as a disease in its own right,” Australian anesthesiologist Michael Cousins, the driving force behind the first International Pain Summit in Montreal at the 13th World Congress on Pain, tells the Montreal Gazette.

Cousins — who has chaired the international steering committee that wrote the Montreal Declaration on pain, aimed at bringing attention to inadequate pain policies worldwide — calls on governments and healthcare organizations to establish laws, policies and systems to increase pain management.

In the developed world, part of the problem is that some patients are not believed when they complain of chronic pain and primary care physicians need more training because veterinarians get three times more pain training than doctors, Cousins says. In the undeveloped world, many just don’t have access to healthcare and most have low or no access to pain medication.

“About 70 percent of children in (Australia and the United States) the terminal phase of life with cancer had severe unrelieved symptoms and severe pain,” Cousins tells the Gazette. “That’s a shocking statistic for a so-called civilized society. It’s disgraceful. It’s cruel and inhuman.”

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