Japanese doctors and pain management

I have had several relatives die from cancer and in the case of my mother, my sister and I were in charge of her pain management. Now my fiancé’s father is hospitalized with cancer and is suffering a great deal of pain. I had heard this in the past, but now am experiencing first-hand, the inclination of Japanese doctors to try to explain that a too much morphine or other painkiller is bad. This is ridiculous and very backwards. I am pulling strings to try to get better pain management for him. The level of control they give the family and approach to pain management in Japan compared to the US is extremely behind the times and I would suggest to anyone who has a loved one about to be hospitalized for something that requires strong painkillers to seriously consider going to the US if you can afford it. I may be over-generalizing and I would be curious to know if anyone has had any GOOD experiences in Japan with pain management or oncologists.

4 Comments so far

  1. D.L.A. (unregistered) on January 7th, 2005 @ 8:11 am

    I can see that things have not changed since my mother-in-law passed in the ’90s from pancreatic cancer. Her son tried his best to get more morphine for her, but the doctors gave some lame excuses about cost and something about addiction, IIRC.

    Different excuses with the same result.

  2. ronaprhys (unregistered) on January 20th, 2005 @ 7:10 am

    I can definitely confirm that the US is doing a fairly good job of pain management. It’s currently one of the hot topics here in the States, so if pain is the issue, I’d certainly say that coming here’d be a good idea.

  3. Bob L (unregistered) on September 15th, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

    Ask your doctors if they have heard of the book, “Dying in a Japanese Hospital” by Fumio Yamazaki. I read this back in 1996 I can hope it had some impact but human systems and the enabling culture is difficult to change. I wish you and your father peace and calm in the difficulty you face.
    Sincerely – Bob

  4. Chrisotpher Hume (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 6:38 am

    Due to a curvature of the spine, coupled with severe sciatica pressure and flare ups, my only recourse has been pain management for the last 5 years. It has given my life back (either oxycodone time release or morphine, which is cleaner) but I am moving to Japan to teach and I am terified that I will have to go back to the chronic pain all day days, and that this will ruin my experience there and even get me fired (?)
    I do not know Japanese attitudes on this subject. Is it possible to “port over” the exact same , time proven treatment once I move there from NYC??? anyone with advice or info I would be extremely grateful to you.
    Chirstopher Hume

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