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.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail