Nov 19 2010
Babies have been studied for their reaction to pain since at least 1925 (Sherman & Sherman) possibly earlier. Between that time and the 1980’s many similar experiments were done that established that yes; babies do experience pain to their arms, legs, calves, toes and other parts of the body from scratches and pin pricks. Any mother could have told them this throughout the history of the human race. But of course we are talking about modern medical science here and anecdotal evidence from a mother is not acceptable. But because of the work of Sherman and Sherman in 1925 modern medicine is aware that yes, infants do experience pain.
Well science never got its own message that babies feel pain. Infants from premature up to 15 months old have had major surgery performed on them without the aid of anything to relieve their pain for over a century. The only thing given to babies during the operations they received was Curare. Curare is a powerful drug with life threatening side effects which paralyzes the infants so they cannot move or cry out. So, all that those thousands of babies could do was lay there without even the ability to cry during the horror of their operations. And it is now known that many died from the shock of what happened to them. And it is anyone’s guess as to how much psychological trauma they suffered later in life from this horrendous experience.
What is even more distressing is that during at least the last 50 years or more the pain could have been alleviated by the more modern and accurate use of anesthetics. But science moves slowly and some scientific minds move even slower unless prodded by the public and the justice system. So it was not till 1985 that this disgusting procedure was finally brought to light (see below) and as far as is known has been stopped.
This ghastly practice would probably still be in use today if it were not for an open heart operation performed on the Jeffrey Lawson baby in 1985. Their baby had holes cut into his neck, another hole in his chest, his ribs pried apart and various other operation techniques performed while totally aware but paralyzed. He went into shock that night after the operation and died 5 days later. His mother discovered what had happened to her baby and with a great deal of effort, research and the help of the media brought most of this horrendous practice to a halt.
Obviously this barbaric practice could and should have been stopped long before Jeffrey’s ordeal, (see ‘Standards of Practice and the Pain of Premature Infants, by Jill R. Lawson). But even years later after the Jeffery Lawson case there were still doctors who were under the misconception that babies do not feel or forget that they experienced pain. This is from an article printed 12 years after the Jeffery’s case. “Circumcision Study Halted Due to Trauma, CNN Health, December 23, 1997, Up to 96 percent of the babies in the
The CNN report goes on to say, “One of the reasons anesthesia is not used, the study found, is the belief that infants feel little or no pain from the procedure. It has also been argued that injecting anesthesia can be as painful as circumcision itself, and that infants don’t remember the procedure, anyway. But there are those who find that reasoning difficult to believe, and Dr. Arthur Gumer is one of them. “To say that the baby doesn’t remember it is not an adequate excuse to me, he said. Babies experience other painful procedures and we worry about that, and we do give them anesthetics for those procedures (see Dr. Gumer’s video “Does Amputation Harm Babies”).”Three years later, McGill Reporter, Volume 32: 1999-2000, January 13, 2000, What do Babies Feel? by Tim Hornyak, “I think it’s close to 50 per cent of male infants that are circumcised for non-religious reasons,” says Professor Celeste Johnston. “I’ve been to a briss, and at least they hold the child and let it suck on a cloth dipped in alcohol and honey, which probably elicits the endorphin system. It’s a very different thing than in the hospital, when these kids are plunked down on a plastic board and strapped spread-eagled to it. Really, it’s barbaric.”
So a total of 15 years after the Lawson case there were still cases where infants were subjected to operations known and unknown where no anesthesia or pain medication was used. Wherever you live in this world protect your baby and your peace of mind by finding out the exact procedures that will be used during any operation on him or her. Your doctor will only respect you for your caring parental attention to the details of your baby’s safety.
An aphorism attributed to the German physicist Max Planck considered the founder of the nordstrom quantum theory is a fitting end to this article at , but you can read it www.cutterweldermaestro.com “that science doesn’t progress because scientists change their minds, but rather because scientists attached to erroneous views die, and are replaced.”
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