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The Pediatric Forum
June 2004

Newborn Babies: More Pain Than That

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Copyright 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2004

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(6):600. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.6.600-a

I found the article of Simons et al1 provocative in documenting the extent to which neonates in an intensive care unit are subjected to painful, invasive procedures without appropriate pain control. It is disturbing to learn that this cruel practice still persists in the face of the substantial evidence that has been published in recent years demonstrating that babies do indeed feel pain. Unfortunately, the impact of this study may be lessened by an inadvertent error in summarizing the results. In the "Comment" section, the authors state "neonates experience up to 14 painful procedures per day."1(p1062) That is shocking but, as they report elsewhere in their article, the situation is actually far worse. The figure of 14 painful procedures per neonate per day is the average; it was instead found that they underwent up to 53 such procedures per day.

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