As physicians and nurses, we have a fundamental obligation to manage pain and relieve patient suffering as a crucial element of our professional commitment to patient care.1,2 These are not merely lofty ideals; effective pain management produces a myriad patient benefits including reduced morbidity and mortality, early mobilization, and shortened hospital stay.3
Historically, children were undertreated for pain and for painful procedures because of the common wisdom that children neither responded to, nor remembered, painful experiences to the same degree that adults did. This is simply untrue. We now know that even neonates experience pain and that all children, even the critically ill, respond to noxious stimuli with biochemical and physiologic stress responses that if untreated can lead to increased patient morbidity and mortality.4,5
- Received December 8, 1994.
- Accepted August 29, 1995.
- Copyright © 1996 by the American Academy of Pediatrics