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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2016 December;136(3-4):39-45
Right to pain relief, pain management and palliative care: treating chronic pain
Giuseppe R. PARENTE, Stefania C. BELLO, Margherita NERI
Sezione Dipartimentale di Medicina Legale, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Ospedale “Colonnello D’Avanzo”, Foggia, Italy
In terms of corporeality, human suffering is an unpleasant personal experience, which also entails a plurality of elements which impair a person’s biological and neuro-psychological components. From a forensic perspective, however, pain is the result of a complex system of interactions, as it is influenced by environmental, cultural, religious, emotional, and physical factors. Starting from the acknowledgement of access to health care as a fundamental human right, this paper identifies in the constitutional principles the foundation of the patient’s protection. By analyzing the legal system from the point of view of personal health and development, it is possible to outline the system of patient protection and to consider the two main issues of the right to pain relief: access to palliative care and adherence to pain treatment. This perspective also allows to pinpoint the limits of treatment with regard to patients’ dignity and right to self-determination.