Feel No Pain

What you need to know about the new rules for treating pain at hospitals and other facilities

Pain will propel most people to a doctor's office faster than just about any other complaint. It's usually a sign that something is wrong--though it's not always clear just what the problem is. Doctors can't measure pain objectively the way they can blood pressure or cholesterol levels. So when pain doesn't immediately respond to treatment, physicians and patients often--too often--accept it as just another symptom that has to be lived with.

The suffering and confusion should begin to lift this year, however, thanks to the efforts of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the group responsible for certifying...

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