FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Pain Relief in Haiti

by JOHN CARROLL, MD

Most Haitians have very difficult lives and many of them suffer from painful conditions that are never treated. And their pain is ignored too, not because “Haitians have a higher pain tolerance”, but because Haitians are poor.

When Haitians have medical problems that cause pain, they need and deserve pain medication. Pain relief is a basic human right. And ten million Haitians have their fair share of burns, broken bones, and post-operative pain every day.

Haiti also has a huge supply of cancer pain that usually goes untreated. Cervical and breast cancer plague Haitian women. Screening, diagnostics, and treatment are all deficient.

Untreated breast cancer in a Haitian woman. Photo: John Carroll

Untreated breast cancer in a Haitian woman. Photo: John Carroll

Yet in over 30 years of working in Haiti, I have never seen morphine ordered even once.

Morphine comes from the poppy plant and was discovered in 1804. It was first marketed for relief of pain in 1817. That is almost two hundred years ago.  Morphine is very effective and costs about two dollars per week per average hospitalized adult. But morphine hasn’t caught on in Haiti yet.

In the United States we tell patients with pain, “We have more morphine than you have pain”. High income countries such as the United States, Canada, and the UK consume 93% of the world’s morphine supply yet 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle income nations.

Every year five million people in the world with cancer die in pain, without access to pain medication. In India 1-2% of patients with cancer are given morphine. In Haiti it is even less.

Neglecting someone’s pain from any cause is unconscionable. It is frequently the ultimate and last insult for people without funds or influence.

John A. Carroll, M.D. is a physician working in Port-au-Prince.

John A. Carroll, M.D. is a physician working in Port-au-Prince.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail