The 13th Annual International Conference on Clinical Ethics Consultation (ICCEC) was held on May 25-27 in Singapore. Center Assistant Professor Dr. Marleen Eijkholt attended and presented on a neuroethics panel, “A Cross Cultural Examination of Pain: Conceptual, Practical and Clinical Ethical Challenges.”
Pain is a relevant clinical problem, but also a social construct impacted by culture, environment, and gender. As a result, pain is perceived, framed and treated differently across cultures. However, minimal literature exists on cross-cultural examinations of pain.
Dr. Eijkholt and collaborators Nneka Sederstrom (U.S.), Daniel Fu-Chang Tsai (Taiwan), and Yonghui Ma (China) explored various challenges in the framing of pain across cultures. By focusing on a specific case, the panel examined the meaning of pain, the various challenges of the pain discourse, and the varying approaches toward pain through a cross-cultural lens. They delved into the ethical, legal, and social issues around pain. Asking: what is the relevance of pain in the clinical setting, what (in)abilities do patients and surrogates have to address pain in the clinical setting, how is pain treated, and what concepts frame the importance of pain, they sought to compare and contrast different approaches to draw lessons for working in a cross-cultural context.
Dr. Eijkholt also presented a case study titled “Clinical neuroethics: Cracking brains and health care systems.”