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New Medical Device Measures Pain

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Emergency rooms on the east coast have started using a new medical device, which they call “PAIN,” or short for Pain Acquiring Instrument Neat-O. The device recently achieved FDA approval. An emergency room nurse who had electrical engineering skills, created the device in an attempt to objectively measure pain. The inventor’s name is Ken Waters. The device is hand held and is simply placed on a patient’s skin, near the source of pain. The patient is asked to subjectively rate their pain level, and by pushing a button on the device, it provides an objective pain rating. As an example, a patient may indicate that their pain level is a “10” but the device may record it as a “3.” The medical personnel do not need to rely on the patient’s subjective complaints of pain, but rather, treat the patient’s pain level as objectively measured by the “PAIN” device. The inventor indicates that the pain measuring device can sense electrical pain fibers and the more frequently they fire, the higher the score. The device also inputs audio waves from the patient.
Is the pain measuring device reliable? Since pain is “subjective” can a medical device really “objectively” measure a patient’s pain level? Further, everyone’s pain level is different. How many times have you heard someone say “I have a high tolerance of pain” and another person may complain that they are in “acute pain,” over the smallest thing that may be wrong with them. Since the device is so new, and only recently FDA approved, it will be interesting to see if the device catches on nationwide or over time, it is found, much like the polygraph exam of old (lie detector tests), to be inherently unreliable. For now, injured persons in accident cases, should be cautious that with the introduction of this new medical device, that they are as straightforward and honest, as they reasonably can be, when going to the emergency room, or seeing their own doctor, on their pain levels. At some point, they may find themselves being tested with this new medical device, and their treating doctor or other medical personnel, may be more suspicious about a patient’s complaint of pain, once tested using this new device.
What do you think? Do you think that a medical device can truly and accurately record an individual’s pain level?

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