Pain management: Legal risks and ethical responsibilities

Ben A Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper addresses ethical and legal issues related to effective pain management and palliative care. It documents the nature, extent and duration of the problem of undertreated pain, and notes the paucity of literature on ethical implications of the problem. The multiple factors contributing to the problem are discussed, in particular the phenomenon of opiophobia which pervades American culture. The author defends the contention that the failure of healthcare professionals to effectively treat the pain experienced by their patients by following the recently developed clinical practice guidelines constitutes both unethical and professionally negligent practice, for which they should be held liable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Care in Pain and Symptom Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics
  • Guidelines
  • Health care
  • Legal risks
  • Liability
  • Opiophobia
  • Pain
  • Pain management
  • Terminal illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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