The alleviation of pain and suffering: moving beyond the medical model
Mhic Iomhair, Maura
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This study arose from a concern for the needs of patients who experience pain and suffering in hospitals or community settings. In this thesis, in attempting to move beyond the current medical model I propose a holistic medical model. The model I suggest compliments, balances and improves upon the current scientific medical approach. I seek to advance the best that scientific and technological advances offer together with a whole-person, patient-oriented emphasis on medical care and healing, particularly in relation to the treatment of pain and suffering. I examine in depth the holistic medical care of two clinical practitioners, Sheila Cassidy and Michael Kearney with a view to locating models of holistic medical care that can be applied across the medical field. I then also provide a philosophical underpinning, for this work in the exploration of the work o f Martin Buber, which emphasizes the interpersonal dimensions of holistic medical care. His insights into the interpersonal relationships and dialogue have shown to be of value in the development of a therapeutic relationship between patient and doctor. Through an indepth examination of the work of John Paul II it became evident that he provides a theological underpinning for an approach to holistic medical care, and a human anthropology which emphasizes the dignity and equality of all human beings at all stages of human life. He also includes a vision for Catholic healthcare rooted in the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. The provision o f holistic care for all patients has implications for medical education, expansion of the health services, development of general practice, and the provision of community care for the sick, the elderly, the disabled and the mentally ill.
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