The Philosophy of Pain Relief


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"Govinda, 36, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Narainama, 42, of cervical cancer. Nagendra, 32, cerebral embolism. Srinivaslum, 11, multiorgan failure. "
Laxmidevi, head nurse of the Palliative Care Unit at Bathalapalli Hospital, lists the different cases under the department’s care. The dedicated unit opened in June 2015 to "serve terminally ill and those suffering pain," Laxmidevi explains. It’s located in the largest hospital built by the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, which has become a central medical hub for the health care system in Anantapur District since it opened in 2000. 
Palliative care is appropriate for patients with advanced, progressive disease where control of pain and other psychological and spiritual aspects become important, according to the World Health Organization. Dr. Kannan, anesthetist and head of this department, explains that "when a patient has spent half his life in pain, this is not only physical but also psychological, because he sees death near." Therefore, the idea of ​​creating a unit devoted to pain relief is based on the principle that every human being deserves to live and die without pain and with as much dignity as possible. 
"An important part of our daily work is to talk to them, do awareness and answer their questions until they understand for themselves what is happening. Some patients wonder whether they have done something wrong in their life to experience this kind of pain," Dr. Kannan says. "I always give the same answer: I cannot cure you, but I can take care of you."
The creation of this unit aims to provide support for patients and their families, both pharmacologically and psychologically, because patients aren’t the only ones in pain; families also suffer. "The pain paralyzes the daily life of the patient and his family," Laxmidevi explains.
The palliative care unit includes eight beds for patients, but the ideal is for them to stay home, close to their families. 
"The relatives of the patients are very involved in the care," says Laxmidevi. "We train them to know how to improve the quality of life of their sick relative, from putting a catheter to delivering morphine,” adds Dr. Kannan. 
"Opening this department has been a big step,” concludes Dr. Ketty Cedillo Arce, chief of emergency service. “Now the option of receiving a dignified death is there for the families who are caring for the patient until the last moment.”