Less Pain, More Gain

After years of sparing the morphine, doctors see that better pain relief means a faster, cheaper recovery

WHEN RESEARCHERS AT MASsachusetts General Hospital order white rats for medical research, they must fill out detailed forms explaining whether the animal will experience pain, what procedures will be used to minimize its suffering, and who is responsible for pain management. A grandmother who undergoes a hip replacement in a U.S. hospital enjoys no such concern. There are no questionnaires about the suffering she will endure after her operation. And chances are she will hurt.

Experts estimate that up to half of surgical patients suffer moderate to severe postoperative pain. No one knows for sure because while hospitals laboriously monitor every...

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