One of the biggest challenges for hospitals is keeping a patient's pain in check. That's where Avera McKennan Anesthesiologist, Dr. Timothy Metz comes in.
"Checking in on the pain control after surgery how are you this morning?" asked Dr. Metz.
Dr. Metz is just one of the doctors, pharmacists, and nurses that make up the Avera McKennan's Acute Pain Service.
"We're trying to treat pain pre-emptively and have a certain amount of pain control on board which creates more of a breakthrough pain environment instead of a scheduled pain that would reoccur every 4 hours." Said Dr. Metz.
Dr. Metz's team rounds on patients daily to make sure their comfortable while they heal. Dr. Metz is checking on Lowell Christensen, who has already been through a lot in the past week.
"What started me to come to the hospital was to have my left hip removed and a replacement put in and we ran into complications." Said Christensen.
While Lowell was recovering from the hip replacement he started having tremendous pains in his stomach.
"I just had a terrible night all night long, and then it never got any better and then by Sunday afternoon they knew something had to happen." Said Christensen.
Doctors had to put Lowell through another surgery to remove a portion of his colon. A tough week by any standard.
"On the zero to ten scale with zero being no pain and ten horrible terrible pain where do you think you are now?" Asked Dr. Metz.
Lowell is doing much better, but recovering in an unfamiliar hospital environment can be difficult. But if their pain can be controlled, it can lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer complications down the road.
"Having a single resource in the hospital that is able to keep up on the technology and implement some of these programs is vital in the treatment of these patients." Said Dr. Metz.
Those new treatment techniques include methods that don't require as many narcotics or addicting medications. So patients like Lowell can focus on getting back to a normal life.
"Just being able to sit down and feel good and to see my friends back home and not to have my family worrying about me." Said Christensen.
While they may not be the doctors who performed the surgery, the acute pain service brings something just as important to patients and their families: a little peace of mind.
"Anything else we can do for you this morning on the pain management side? alright you look great hang in there, have a great day guys!" Said Dr. Metz.
Lowell was discharged from the hospital on November 11. He says he's doing well and his pain continues to subside with each passing week. For more information about the acute pain service just call 877-AT-AVERA.