Opioid overdoses lead to nearly 70,000 deaths each year in the U.S., and for this reason the medical community has significantly curtailed their use for treating pain in adults. But what about in children? In today’s episode, Pediatric surgeon and researcher Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon, from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, explains that treating pain in children requires a nuanced approach. Dr. Kelley-Quon recently authored the first national guidelines about the role of opioids in children undergoing surgery, and makes the case that we need to find a “sweet spot” in which we treat pain aggressively but without using opioids recklessly. Often this involves maximizing the role of comfort mechanisms to minimize the need for medications.
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