Tonight I was in a patien't room with the resident while he told the patient that he may have to undergo a minor procedure to drain some fluid from around his lung. Basically this involves injecting some numbing medication into the tissue and then poking a fairly large-bore needle into the patient's side. So the patient, naturally enough, asks if it will hurt. And the resident immediately said "NO". He went on to clarify that it doesn't hurt AT ALL. The patient looked at the doc like he was crazy and I laughed and asked the doc exactly how many thorancenteses he had undergone himself. The answer, of course, was "none", which begs the question "Then how do you know it's not gonna hurt?" I always try to be very honest with patients about pain while reassuring them that every effort will be made to minimize their discomfort. Yet it seems surgeons consistently promise patients that they won't feel a THING, that they will be completely pain-free even though they will be undergoing extensive invasive procedures such as, oh IDK, a freakin LIVER TRANSPLANT. Or whatever. I have literally had patients complain to me that the surgeon told them they wouldn't have any pain after having their abdomen cut open from top to bottom and their intestines messed about and retractors stretching their skin open etc etc. So I'm curious----is honesty the best policy, or would you rather have your MD tell you you won't feel a thing?