Is It Ethical to Treat Pain Differently in Children and Adults with Burns?
AMA Journal of Ethics, June 2018
This commentary discusses ethical implications of the common practice of treating children's and adults' burn pain differently. Physicians have obligations to ensure that (1) their own discomfort with children's pain doesn't lead them to make pain management decisions that could place a patient at greater risk and (2) to engage in thoughtful, individualized pain management strategies. Long-term consequences of overzealous pain medication administration, for example, could include delayed recovery and integration or opioid dependence. The need to create individualized approaches to pain management, based on published guidelines, is discussed along with uses of nonpharmacological treatment for both adults and children.
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