Sometimes it is better not to know…
Some of those who owe their life to infant surgery in times past have become aware of the fact that safe and effective pediatric anesthesia and analgesia have only become almost generally used in developed countries in fairly recent years.
The medical mantra that “a baby does not feel, let alone remember pain” was widely believed and acted on in the medical world. We can be thankful that many medical workers did nevertheless learn to work on infants using the available rudimentary anesthetic drugs and procedures. A powerful code of silence blanketed what was really happening and how widespread infant surgery without anesthesia was practised.
In 20 years of lay research and networking about this issue, I have yet to find a statistical report or journal article on the relevant facts and figures. Understandably, parents were never told about the darker facts around their child’s operation, and those who dared to asked were most likely fobbed off – and certainly did not dare to share their concerns with their child in later years.
I have networked with an uncomfortable number of people who like me are grateful to be alive because of early surgery but have always been mystified by living with some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
The medical mantras about infants feeling and remembering pain were publicly challenged and steadily corrected only since 1987. I have written other posts here about this.
Here is a reading list for those who are interested in learning more about this matter.
Again: sometimes it is better not to know . . .
Inadequate pain management
New York Times – Researchers Warn on Anesthesia, Unsure of Risk to Children – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/26/health/researchers-call-for-more-study-of-anesthesia-risks-to-young-children.html (link)
Jill R Lawson, Standards of Practice and the pain of premature Infants – (pdf file incl additional articles) – http://www.recoveredscience.com/ROP_preemiepain.htm (link to Jill Lawson’s article only)
McGrath Patrick J – Science is not enough, The modern history of pediatric pain – Moderna historia dolor pediatrico.pdf – (file) – http://www.dolor.org.co/articulos/MOderna%20historia%20dolor%20pediatrico.pdf (link)
Pail’s Health Blog Nov 2010 – A Story of Babies in Pain and the Barbaric Malpractices of Medicine – http://www.theherbprof.com/blog/?p=66 (link)
Louis Tinnin, Awake and Paralyzed during Surgery – http://ezinearticles.com/?Awake-And-Paralyzed-During-Surgery&id=182472 (link)
Dvorsky, George, Why are so many Newborns still being denied Pain Relief? – http://gizmodo.com/why-are-so-many-newborns-still-being-denied-pain-relief-1755495866 (link)
Chamberlain David B – CV & publications.pdf – (file)
Website – Birth Psychology – A Bibliography of Dr David B Chamberlain’s writings – https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-28-issue-4/chamberlain-bibliography (link)
David B Chamberlain, Babies are Conscious – (file)
David B Chamberlain, Babies Don’t Feel Pain – a Century of Denial in Medicine http://www.nocirc.org/symposia/second/chamberlain.html – (link)
Levine, Peter A, Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma, North Atlantic Books, 1997 (book title)
Van der Kolk, Bessel, The Body Keeps the Score – (book & summary article title) http://www.franweiss.com/pdfs/sensorimotor_vanderkolk_1994.pdf (link)
Van der Kolk, Bessel, Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma – http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/436.pdf (link)
Van der Kolk, Bessel, Developmental Trauma Disorder – (book & summary article title) http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Preprint_Dev_Trauma_Disorder.pdf (link)
Van der Kolk, Bessel, The Limits of Talk – http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/networker.pdf (link)
PTSD from Infant Trauma
K J S Anand & P R Hickey, Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus – http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/anand/ (link)
The New York Times, 24 Nov 1987, Philip M Boffey, Infants’ Sense of Pain Finally Recognized – http://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/24/science/infants-sense-of-pain-is-recognized-finally.html (link)
The New York Times Magazine, 10 Feb 2008, Annie Murphy Paul, The First Ache, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/magazine/10Fetal-t.html?_r=1&ex=12 (link)
Monell, Terry – When Pediatric Surgery causes Permanent Damage.docx (file)
Dr Louis Tinnin – Infant Surgery without Anesthesia 130707.docx (file) – https://ltinnin.wordpress.com/ and https://ltinnin.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/infant-surgery-without-anesthesia/ (link)
Wendy P Williams – Are Your Symptoms due to Infant Surgical Trauma? – http://restoryyourlife.com/ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-dr-louis-tinnin-infant-surgery-without-anesthesia-pyloric-stenosis/ (link)
Wendy P Williams – Ten things to remember about pre-verbal Infant Trauma – http://restoryyourlife.com/preverbal-infant-trauma-preverbal-memory-emotions-sensations-breath-anxiety/ (link)
National Institute of Mental Health (USA) – comprehensive introductory brochure on PTSD – https://infocenter.nimh.nih.gov/nimh/product/Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder/QF%2016-6388 (link to brochure)
Ten things People with PTSD-related Dissociation should know – http://healthiest.pw/10-things-people-with-ptsd-related-dissociation-should-know/ (link)
Kyle Elizabeth Freeman – Blogger at “Gutsy Beautiful Complicated”, Childhood Medical Trauma – 36 Years Later – https://gutsybeautifulcomplicated.com/2012/11/03/coming-to-terms-with-trauma-thirty-nine-years-later/ – email@example.com
N B – Chamberlain, Dvorsky, Van der Kolk and some others listed here have other material online and/or for sale
N B – this List is a work in progress