What we mean when we talk about suffering—and why eric cassell should not have the last word

Tyler Tate, Robert Pearlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper analyzes the phenomenon of suffering and its relationship to medical practice by focusing on the paradigmatic work of Eric Cassell. First, it explains Cassell’s influential model of suffering. Second, it surveys various critiques of Cassell. Next it outlines the authors’ concerns with Cassell’s model: It is aggressive, obscure, and fails to capture important features of the suffering experience. Finally, the authors propose a conceptual framework to help clarify the distinctive nature of subjective patient suffering. This framework contains two necessary conditions: (1) a loss of a person’s sense of self, and (2) a negative affective experience. The authors suggest how this framework can be used in the medical encounter to promote clinician-patient communication and the relief of suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-110
Number of pages16
JournalPerspectives in biology and medicine
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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