Una finestra nella tua casa
Cure palliative e conforto nella malattia
Prefazione di Hans Neuenschwander
15×21 cm, 208 pp
A window in your home
Palliative care and comfort in illness
Preface by Hans Neuenschwander
The word “palliative” comes from the Latin “pallium”, a woollen cape that ancient Romans used to wear on a shoulder and wrap around the body to protect it.
In modern medical science, the word “palliative” has come to mean something else – something slightly depreciative: a palliative is a mock remedy, basically a hoax which cannot possibly cure diseases. A patient’s husband, for instance, asked us not to give his wife any “palliative care – just proper medicine, for God’s sake!”.
People often forget that the word “palliative” actually refers to several cares which would be better defined as “supportive cares” and which are employed in very diverse conditions.
In fact, palliative cares are anything but ineffective. Clinical studies have shown that they are actually quite effective, especially in terms of the patients’ survival and wellness.
Many doctors believe palliative remedies to be generally very beneficial; nonetheless, they only prescribe a palliative care when it’s too late for it to work. The actual patients are often uncared for, the focus being lab work and x-ray testing. Their physical, psychological and spiritual wellness ends up being neglected.
The point of palliative cares is to ensure that the patients live a tolerable, decorous life up to the end; to ease their pain and to take care of their wishes and needs, whatever they are.
Thanks to massive investments in cutting-edge research, today’s medical knowledge can oust a vast range of pathologies. This knowledge makes it possible to fight diseases effectively. Medical science has undergone an astonishing change – and yet no astonishing change has taken place in regards to understanding people and their inner suffering. We’ve been so busy curing illnesses that we’ve forgotten to cure the ill.
Noseda is a cardiologist and professor emeritus at the University of Berne. He has long been the consultant of internal medicine at the hospitals of Mendrisio and Lugano.
A political activist from 1975 to 1989, he was the proposer of the Swiss Health Bill in 1982 and the President of its commission.
Ha was at the head of the Swiss Cancer League, of the Swiss Cancer Research foundation and of Oncosuisse, and took part in the creation of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Bellinzona, acting as its chairman for fifteen years. Noseda is currently the president of the National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration (NICER) of the university of Zurich. He is an honorary member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Science and the president of the “Child to Child for Africa” foundation, a project for schooling in Kenya. He is also a member of the Ticino association for palliative care.
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