Is that gonna hurt?

  1. 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?
     
  2. honesty! If a doc told me I would be pain free, I would really worry if I felt pain... that something was wrong. If he said something more along the lines of "the procedure won't hurt, but afterward you will feel swelling, tenderness, etc" I would be much more relaxed about recovery. I would want to know if things are progressing normally or not.
     
  3. I think the doc should give the patient an idea, like, you may have mild pain, you may have moderate pain. Since pain is diagnostic, a patient who is told to expect mild pain and experiences severe pain will know that is not what was expected and will tell the doctor.
     
  4. I think you should have an idea. I had an endometrial biopsy and my doctor told me it might pinch. Well, let me tell you, that is one of the most painful things I've experienced in my life. I YELLED the F-word out in the doctor's office. My legs started shaking so bad I had to get my mom to come and pick me up. I will NOT undergo the procedure again EVER unless I'm put under anesthesia.

    I actually went to another doctor not long after that, totally unrelated, different type of doctor. In taking my history that damn biopsy came up and I told him how badly it hurt and how she didn't tell me it would. He said, "I don't know why doctors do that. My wife had that done and it hurt like hell and they told her the same thing."
     
  5. I feel that maybe this is a bitter-sweet issue. When I was debating having an acoustic neuroma removed, the only reason that i held off was because my doctor scared the you-know-what out of me. She told me all these horrible things to expect after surgery during recovery (none of which happened), and it really bothered me enough to not do the surgery. Eventually I HAD to do it, and the recovery was honestly not nearly as bad as I was told. If I had known there was even a window of opportunity for a decent recovery, I would have had it done years prior. I do understand that she wanted to give me full perspective on what often happens after this surgery - and normally I would always say honesty s the best policy, but in this case I really wish someone was available to tell me something other than the horror stories I was told.

    I have a fantastic team of doctors (I call them my 'designer doctors' because I value them all so much) and I know this is a major reason I did so well during recovery.
     
  6. I would prefer honesty (both as a patient and as a physician). I think it's a part of informed consent to tell the patient that some procedures may cause discomfort.

    ETA: nevermind the rest of what I typed...
     
  7. I would want the truth. If it is going to hurt tell me. I can brace myself for it and mentally prepare. I will want to know that it is normal that I am in pain. I hate when Dr's say it won't hurt.
     
  8. I definitely would want the truth. Pain is such a subjective thing as it is, might as well give me some kind of perspective!
     
  9. I wouldn't want to know... I don't want them to tell me something is going to hurt like hell when maybe it won't, because it would get me all worked up :shrugs: ...
     
  10. I always like to have a vague idea of the pain level so that I can prepare myself and know what to expect. But I do not want doctors to go all out and say how terrible it would be. I have had so many doctors tell me that the fear of the pain is a lot worse than the actual pain itself, and I have found this to be so true!
     
  11. I would like to know truthfully. I didn't think an Endoscopy would hurt since they sedate you, but guess again. If you aren't given enough via the IV, you start to gag, in my case. It was far from pleasant. Even though my case isn't the norm.
     
  12. Honesty! I'd rather know. :smile: ETA- especially since if they tell you it wont hurt and afterwards it dfoes you might freak out and think something is wrong.
     
  13. sugar coated truth, because the REAL truth is that everyone feels things differently.
     
  14. You can tell me it will sting or pinch or burn or whatever. But tell me I'll feel it because as soon as I "feel" something I will flip the *)&^ out because you said "I won't feel a thing."
     
  15. I don't want things sugar coated either. I've gone through some really horrific operations, but most were to aleviate pain (five spinal surgeries in less than 20 years, a kneecap reconstruction after I fell on one knee on cement) and upon waking up found out the surgery hurt LESS than what I'd already was feeling, so it wasn't bad.

    But yeah, I want to know if it's going to hurt... I know they say it won't, or they'll try and keep me comfortable, but if they say it won't and it does, I'd start freaking out.