Chronic Post-op Pain: A Clinician/Patient's Perspective

As an anesthesiologist who is currently debilitated and who has been unable to carry out my practice for the past three years because of complications from chronic postoperative pain, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on the February 2013 article “Chronic Post-op Pain Takes Toll on Patients, Resources” (page 10). The authors present statistics showing that such pain disorders outnumber the incidence of diseases in the forefront of medical attention, such as breast cancer. Thus, it should strike us all that this area of discussion is long past due. Although I am delighted to see an article that addresses this highly overlooked and significant issue, I would like to note several points unmentioned in the story. I understand the primary focus and financial drive of our modern practice model. However, I am left wondering if we might someday feature an article titled “Chronic Post-op Pain Takes Toll on Patients.” Although pain management deals with a diverse array of complex issues, I have been startled to find myself on the other end as a patient and the frank lack of dignity this population must endure. Certain psychosocial issues may play a role in the care of pain patients, but our stereotype of the prevalence of psychological factors is highly outdated. Pain as a subjective experience, without any means of quantification, should not lump all patients together as having underlying psychiatric diagnoses. This is not to say that lack of appropriate diagnostic codes to protect us from the scrutiny of insurance carriers is completely without cause, but it continues to define and limit our access to care.
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Jacqueline Goguen‘s insight:

A view from the other side of the fence.

Blessings, Jacqui

Posted on: 05/06/2013, by : Jacqui

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