1999 Pain Relief Bill

From: Michele (woobie@telebot.com)
Wed Sep 22 18:36:22 1999

Judiciary Committee Passes Pain Relief Bill Copyright 1999 The Disability News Service, Inc. Washington, D.C.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approve H.R. 2260, The Pain Relief and Promotion Act of 1999 on September 14. The proposed law promotes the education and training of doctors in state-of-the-art methods of pain relief, and is endorsed by groups such as the American Medical Association, the National Hospice Organization, the American Academy of Pain Management, Americans for Integrity in Palliative Care, and Physicians for Compassionate Care.

The bill provides research grants to improve treatment of pain, depression and other causes of suffering in people who are chronically or terminally ill. If the bill is enacted, physicians will have the ability to aggressively manage pain in those people, even if such treatment, in rare circumstances, might increase the likelihood of death. At the same time, the Act also clarifies the issue that controlled substances may not be used to cut short pain and palliative care through assisted suicide or euthanasia. The landmark legislation also protects doctors, nurses and patients by educating local, state and federal law officers to better accommodate the legitimate use of controlled substances.

Reflecting a nationwide problem, the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners recently disciplined a physician for failing to provide sufficient pain treatment for his patients.

This week's Lancet documents that patients' longing for death dramatically fluctuates, and usually arises from treatable conditions such as depression, fear or discomfort.

H.R. 2260 is bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Bart Stupak (D-MI). Posted 9/14/99

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