Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pain Management By Committee

People don't like pain. We anesthesiologists devote our entire lives to helping people live pain free. If patients experience too much pain while under our care, it makes us cry. Okay. It doesn't. But our whole raison d'etre is to make sure our patients are comfortable, therefore that is our first priority. Unfortunately the ugly side of pain management is that if a patient feels he's not getting adequate analgesia, they can sue you for medical malpractice. That is when the hospital administration starts noticing and caring about the adequacy of pain control in the patients residing within the hospital's walls.

In that light, one of our hospital's multitude of committees has decided upon a course of action to help detect and eliminate pain from our surgical patients. Besides our usual vigilance as anesthesiologists in treating pain, the committee has decreed that we should also recite the following to our patients in preop, word for word:

Your anesthetic plan is specifically designed to optimally manage your intraoperative pain while also enabling a smooth transition to the recovery period. It is important that you communicate any special pain issues and that you describe your pain using the pain scale to your recovery room nurses, floor nurses and pain team so that your pain can be appropriately assessed and treated in an effective manner. Do you have any other questions for me regarding the plan for pain management?

Word for word. Does that remotely resemble a doctor's conversation with his patient? George Clooney couldn't make those lines sound convincing, even in his "ER" days. It sounds more like a lawyer reading off a contract. This is what happens when the practice of medicine is subjugated to fear and group-think. With ever increasing intrusion by third parties, witness the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in Obamacare, this may just be the beginning of things to come.


  1. Its really excellent post,which includes lots of interesting concepts which is really helpful to all.Thanks..

    Carl Balog

  2. what if someone is always smiling no matter what pain he is feeling? is that normal? :)


  3. Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

    Dr. Carl Balog

  4. Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

  5. Unfortunately, common people are still not aware of the fact that a simple pain can be an indication of some serious despise, and they keep on popping pain killers and analgesics, without consulting a doctor, and it can be truly harmful for their kidneys.