Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (2):215-219 (2020)

Suffering, defined as a state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship, is a multidimensional concept; it can entail physical, psychological and spiritual distress that prompts the sufferer to seek medical attention. As a construct originating from and unique to each patient, no patient’s suffering is equal to another’s or completely reducible to any generalizable frame of understanding. As it happens in a common medical encounter, the suffering patient requires an anamnesis provided by attentive and comprehensive listening to both the said and unsaid parts of his or her discourse interpreted through the hermeneutical skills of the physician. Suffering can then be decoded into a complex construct, which can guide the formulation of a strategy to help patient coping by attempting to find meaning in it. To help this search for meaning, one may employ philosophic therapy, bibliotherapy and counseling, among other approaches. Suffering-based medicine thus circumvents the limitations of the reductionistic Allopathic medical frame of understanding of disease. Such an attitude should be a common goal for all scientific medicine practitioners, as it complements and does not conflict with any of its therapeutic modalities. Furthermore, medical education should include humanistic disciplines to empower physicians to better understand their patients’ experience of suffering.
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-019-09920-8
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References found in this work BETA

Phenomenology as a Resource for Patients.H. Carel - 2012 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (2):96-113.
The Phenomenology of Suffering in Medicine and Bioethics.Fredrik Svenaeus - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (6):407-420.
Conceptualizing Suffering and Pain.Noelia Bueno-Gómez - 2017 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 12:7.
Phenomenology.David Woodruff Smith - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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