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Technology and Pain

March 11, 1988

Krieger's account of being treated as "a folder full of X-rays and computer printouts, not as a 20 year-old squirming in pain" when he was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix is an experience no one should have to go through.

When I worked in the hospital as a nurse, the philosophy I believed in while providing patient care was given to me by my father who practiced as a dedicated physician until he passed away 10 years ago. He always tried to make it easier and lessen the distress of his patients when they weren't feeling well by taking the time to listen to their medical complaints, concerns, answer questions about their treatment, to observe and to take appropriate measures to alleviate any pain caused by their illness or medical procedures they might have to go through.

Lab, X-ray, and computerized diagnostic tests play a part in giving a physician a picture of what is clinically wrong with the patient. But relying on diagnostic procedures exclusively is not the answer.

Providing competent and sensitive care to those in need is what the medical profession is all about. Technology and impersonal attitudes are no replacement.

ANNETTE BOBELL

Los Angeles

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