Monday, April 11, 2011

Movie Trailer Premiere: LIFE Before Death:

The problem of pain and suffering is important in the developed world.  Most of us work through these challenges daily, but a much larger problem exists on the international level with few countries having access to effective opioids, pain relief and palliative care expertise to the level we have in the United States and Canada.  Efforts like the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa and international educational efforts via programs like San Diego Hospice are ways that the palliative care community is reaching beyond our work locally.

Sadly most of these programs are under-recognized and do not get the level of support needed for the scope of the problem.  Sometimes you need to do something a little more confrontational to get the message across and a coalition of organizations have come together to produce, "LIFE before Death," a series of weekly shorts and eventually a feature length independent documentary to bring the international reach of suffering right to your home

Here are the two trailers released this evening (click here and here if the embedded videos do not appear)

Interestingly the Lien Foundation who also created the rich, bold, controversial, innovative, daring, absurd website Life Before Death is also supporting these films.  You may remember I declared it the Best.Website.Ever. Also supporting these documentaries are the International Association for the Study of Pain, The Mayday Fund, the Union for International Cancer Control and The Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice International Programs.

So do you think this will get people's attention?  I think it will increase awareness, but I wonder if it will polarize or change the views who are fearful of opioids and think access should be more restricted because of problems such as diversion? In fact I think this is a larger problem for hospice and palliative medicine advocates.  We need to be able to partner with those who want to decrease diversion and abuse to come to shared solutions that meet the goals of increasing access to pain relief while decreasing harm from diversion and abuse of opioids.
The other big question from these trailers is the assertion that 'pain unrelieved is torture.'  I am not sure of the origins of the quote.  Is this a matter of hyperbole, fact, or somewhere in between?  I think it has huge implications for how palliative care clinicians interact with our fellow professionals in pain control education for good and for bad.
Photo credit: Still from trailer for LIFE before Death.

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