Medical science today knows more about pain than ever, yet many pediatricians lag behind in putting that knowledge into practice.

Health care experts cite numerous reasons for that failure, but the result is essentially the same: patients suffer unnecessarily.

"Our behavior defies our understanding at this point," Anthony Richtsmeier, M.D., FAAP, associate professor of pediatrics at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, said. Dr. Richtsmeier participated in educating hospital staff members about pain management. "If we got people to use the available medications and procedural techniques well, and were sensitive and responsive to the psychological needs of patients and families, pain wouldn't be the big deal it is."

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