From Oxford University Press’s Blog
It is hard to believe that in the mid 1980s it was standard care, even in many academic health centres, for infants to have open heart surgery with no anaesthesia but just a drug to keep the infant still.
This practice was blown out of the water by a courageous mother, Jill Lawson, who against great resistance, pushed to publicize the lack of anaesthesia during open heart surgery that her son, Jeffrey Lawson, had undergone at DC children’s hospital. After dozens of letters and requests for a review of the policy and many condescending rebuffs, the Washington Post published her story. All hell broke loose. There were dozens of news stories because every mother knew that babies feel pain. How could health professionals be so stupid?
So why is pain in children and youth ignored? Is it because children can’t speak out for themselves and when they cry it is dismissed because “Children always cry”? Because children as a group are not valued? Does it go unchallenged by parents because those parents believe that the doctors would of course relieve the pain if they could? Or is it the case that advocates for children’s pain have simply not been effective? Or is pain just dismissed as “a symptom”, or is seen as unimportant by health providers?
– Tim Cocks