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Letter to the NYTimes

Concerning the article: A Soldier’s War on Pain

There’s only one way to change the dynamic so that pain treatment happens fairly.  It’s to have a viable, available way to end one’s life.  Right to die advocates have been pushing for this for years.  When this is in place the patient is on level footing with the doctor for pain treatment decisions.

I also find it funny that nobody suggests acupuncture and natural remedies for treating schizophrenia.  This is because in schizophrenia’s case a lot of the pathology’s fallout happens to society (ie behavior that makes society uncomfortable, sometimes violence) where with chronic pain the sufferer bears the brunt.

One can do an interesting thought experiment along these lines.  When someone cuts them self do they get hospitalized for the pain it causes or because the behavior itself makes society uncomfortable?


People like to say that suicide is a selfish act.  This is undoubtedly true.  But so is wanting someone to keep on existing who would rather not.  The thing is, the people who have the least power (in this case the chronic pain sufferer) are the ones expected to be selfless (it is obvious in religion but harder to spot in these new situations).