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Medical negligence, elder abuse and neglect and personal injury litigation laws may be affected by new international consensus

A growing international consensus may affect laws related to the litigation of medical negligence, elder abuse and neglect, and personal injury cases. These international groups are working toward the goal of recognizing appropriate treatment for pain as a fundamental human right. Highlighted in a recent article in Anesthesia & Analgesia, it illustrates the ways failure to adequately treat pain is unethical, neglectful medical practice and ignores the right to sufficient pain control. This has been proven to cause serious physical and psychological consequences in patients, which may become a factor in medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, and other personal injury lawsuits recognizing this neglectful practice. Standards for pain management may also evolve as professional organizations begin to reorganize this right and doctors overcome fear and ignorance of strong pain medications. Because this issue effects the medical community, the World Health Organization will play an important role in any solution. As one doctor described the issue, “the human suffering due to lack of pain relief is an affront to human dignity.”