Concurrent session: Terry Monell
Psychological Impact of Medical Intervention: Past, Present and Future
Medical intervention has been a largely unrecognized cause of early developmental trauma. The misconception that infants could not feel or remember pain created a torturous protocol excluding them from the administration of anesthesia as a pain preventative during surgical procedures until 1987. Operations were endured in full blown metabolic shock under the influence of an immobilizing paralytic. This history, which pertains to anyone over 24, will be reviewed in terms of the sensory perception of pain, the predominance of right brain development as the infant’s primary consciousness and the legacy of cellularly imprinted implicit memory. This population serves as example for the importance of realizing that like all experience dependent learning overwhelming medical treatment and repeated exposure to painful stimuli can and does set the context for life long problems of multi- system physiological imbalance with interpersonal and intrapersonal dysfunction and a predisposition to psychological disorders including PTSD. Mitigating pain for invasive procedures remains in need of critical focus today with more than five million pediatric surgeries and more than 500,000 preterm births annually often requiring long term hospitalizations and significant pre and post operative pain. Research and studies demonstrate that these issues define and shape the quality of the life to be lived just as clearly as saving the life itself. Only by incorporating an increased awareness into the environment of medical care can the potential for healthy psychological growth be in cooperative synchrony with healthy physical recovery.