Thursday, March 08, 2012

Expert fears production shortages of pain medication place quality palliative care at risk

Windsor, ON- A production suspension by a major Quebec producer of injectable painkillers has started a ripple effect that is quickly spreading across the country. And according to Dr. Gordon Giddings, it’s a ripple that could be hardest felt in a realm of medicine that is not well understood by the general population: palliative care.

Despite the incredibly widespread impact of such a shortage will have on individuals facing the end of their life, discussion of the problem has been minimal. It’s a phenomenon that Giddings explores with his latest book, Dying in the Land of Enchantment. According to Giddings, the unwillingness of many to explore this issue further is indicative of what he calls a “death-denying society.”

“When people hear about a shortage of painkillers they tend to think ‘oh, at least it’s not chemotherapy drugs or insulin’, and quickly move on to another subject. But medications used in palliative medicine are absolutely critical to mitigating human suffering,” says Giddings, a doctor who has undergone extensive and comprehensive training in palliative medicine.

He goes on to explain, “Our overall reluctance to talk about issues of mortality and dying really does a disservice to all those in palliative or hospice care. Death is one of only two universal experiences in this world; it’s all part of the life cycle. So it’s critical that we attach the same level of importance to this kind of end of life issue as we would any other serious medical concern.”

Dr. Giddings is a native of Brooklyn, NY. He is the Program Director of the Palliative Medicine Residency Program at the University of Western Ontario, Windsor Campus, as well as the Lead Palliative Physician for Cancer Care Ontario, Erie St. Clair. He is also a noted author and essayist whose pieces have appeared in international journals. His latest book, Dying in the Land of Enchantment: A Doctor’s Journey is being released by Lost Borders Press on April 4 2012.


To book an interview or receive an advance PDF of the book contact:
Rachel Sentes, Publicist

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