Pain Mismanagement

| navy | medicine |

As a corpsman in a dermatology clinic our sole purpose is to make sure that our patients are as comfortable as possible. The number one priority at all times during the course of the work day is our patient. If we can not make our patients comfortable than we have failed.

I went into a room today for a routine punch biopsy. It was on the fingers which is usually a pretty sensitive area. This patient was completely terrified at the idea of me coming any where near him with the anesthesia. After doing a bit of research I come to find out that the last time he had this procedure done the corpsman that was working with him gave him one tiny little dose of lidocaine and then proceeded to do the procedure. The patient felt every bit of the procedure.

That corpsman failed. I don’t know who it was and quite frankly it does not matter. It could have been any of us. Lidocaine hurts like hell when you are injecting a patient. What is the point of them enduring that pain if they have to feel the pain from the biopsy as well.

At the end of the procedure the patient told me that I did a great job. He said “I don’t know what you did differently but I didn’t feel a thing.” I did not do anything special. Just my job. Local anesthesia is not an art form. All it takes is a little bit of compassion. Place yourself in the shoes of the patient. Wouldn’t you want to feel the least amount of pain as physically possible?

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