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Book and Media Reviews
November 26, 2008

Neonatal Pain: Suffering, Pain, and Risk of Brain Damage in the Fetus and Newborn

JAMA. 2008;300(20):2429-2430. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.700

All humans, regardless of age, are entitled to a few basic and fundamental rights and freedoms. These include—but certainly are not limited to—the right to food, water, and shelter. Moreover, individuals should not experience pain needlessly and should have a fundamental right to the alleviation of pain. The famed physician and Nobel laureate Albert Schweitzer called pain “the most terrible of all the lords of mankind.” Unfortunately, until recently, the prevailing expert opinion was that newborn infants did not feel pain. As a direct result, most physicians knowingly, but perhaps unwittingly, were violating one of the most basic and fundamental tenets in medicine, that of primum non nocere (“first, do no harm”).

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