New York Methodist Hospital: Sensitive to Pain

Feb 15, 2007

  February 15, 2007

New York Methodist Hospital: Sensitive to Pain


Blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature have long been considered the basic vital signs to check for good health. Within the last decade, a new and equally important vital sign was added. "Pain is now widely considered the fifth vital sign because it greatly assists caregivers in determining a patient''s state of health and well-being," said Joseph SchiandiCola, M.D., chairman of anesthesiology at New York Methodist Hospital. "Pain management is a rapidly evolving field that has become an essential component of comprehensive care," he said.

At New York Methodist Hospital, health care professionals specializing in pain management use the latest advances in pain medication and therapy to prevent, control and treat acute and chronic pain. "The Hospital staff is on high alert to make sure patients are feeling as comfortable as possible from admission to pre- and post-surgery to discharge," said Dr. SchiandiCola. "By controlling patients'' pain and providing medication before and after their procedures, we are able to help them proactively rather than reactively," he said.

Pain is both a physical and an emotional condition that involves a complex communication system between the body and the mind. "As health care professionals we need to be attentive to patients'' physical, emotional and psychological pain - it is very much a holistic practice," said Fidelia Jordan, R.N., nurse manager on 7 South. "It sounds silly but it hurts the staff and it hurts me to see a patient in pain," said Ms. Jordan, who, like all nurses at NYM, continually monitors patients'' pain levels through various Hospital-wide measures such as the use of verbal and nonverbal pain scores.

Depending on the reason for hospitalization, health care professionals at NYM may use one or more of the following methods to maximize comfort and minimize pain: epidural injections, local anesthetics, nerve blocks and patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps, among others. "Because pain is effectively controlled and treated, patients recover from surgery sooner, have a lower risk of complications and are able to return to their daily life faster," said Sohelia Jafari, M.D., director of pain management at NYM.

In addition to managing hospitalized patients'' pain, NYM offers an outpatient pain clinic, located within the Hospital, as well as a Pain Management Center, located at 504 Eighth Avenue, in Park Slope. "Most of the patients we see have exhausted all other options for pain relief and our goal provide them with a higher quality of life," said Mike Hedayatnia, M.D., director of the NYM pain clinic. The clinic cares for patients suffering from lower back pain, osteoarthritis and cancer pain, as well as other types of pain. "Through a multidisciplinary approach, the Hospital is able to provide patients relief from chronic and often debilitating pain," said Chaim Mandelbaum, M.D., medical director of the Pain Management Center. The Center offers a comprehensive program aimed at treating chronic pain, spine pain, headaches, cancer pain, facial pain and arthritis, among others.

For more information on the Hospital's outpatient pain clinic, please call 718-499-PAIN. To contact NYM''s Pain Management Center, call 718-780-5607. A physician referral is required at both locations. For referral to a physician associated with NYM, please call the Hospital's Physician Referral Service at 718-499-CARE.


Two surgeons performing surgery
Mehrdad Hedayatnia, M.D., director of the Hospital's outpatient pain clinic, left, assists his colleague (and wife) Sohelia Jafari, M.D., director of pain management at NYM, in performing a pain management procedure.