Essay on The Nature Of Suffering By Eric Cassell

1855 Words Dec 1st, 2016 8 Pages
Eric Cassell argues that physicians have misunderstood the nature of suffering. This is owing largely to the mind-body dualism first introduced by the philosopher Rene Descartes. Physicians focus on the restoration of the body at the complete neglect of the non-body make-up of the human. Cassell argues that this has led to medical treatment actually increasing a patient’s suffering. Opposed to the generally accepted four goals of medicine; prevention, relief, care of ill and avoidance of premature death, Cassell argues that the fundamental purpose of medicine is the relief of suffering. He argues that medicine’s job is to make the person better, however, in order to make the person better, medicine needs to treat the patient and not the disease/sickness. For Cassell, it is the patient that determines from what he or she is suffering, and therefore, is the one to communicate this to physicians. Thus, the sole goal of the physician should be to restore that which the patient has claimed to be an impairment of his or her desired functions. This relies heavily on the physician understanding more fully each patient. This offers numerous positives as medicine becomes patient-centered rather than focusing on diseases and treatment of the detected diseases, but ask numerous moral questions and the possibility of a medical treatment that relies gravely on the autonomy of impaired patients.
Cassell shares the story of a thirty-five-year-old sculptor with cancer of the breast (Cassell…

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