Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand begins the interview by describing his journey into pediatric pain and symptom management through his work examining metabolic and hormonal stress responses of infants undergoing surgery. From this work, he retraced history to understand where the notion of "babies don't feel pain" came from, and then eventually studied more closely the pain responses of infants.
Dr. Anand describes how he was surprised to find that babies mounted three times the metabolic stress response to surgery as compared to adults, and how his pediatric pain research initially received a lukewarm response from his peers. However, that lukewarm response turned into a massive media scandal as news outlets sensationalized Dr. Anand's work as "disgraceful doctors performing surgery on babies without anesthesia." Eventually this media frenzy ended with public apologies printed in the same newspapers.
Since that media incident early in his career, Dr. Anand describes his journey as being "doubly blessed" by immense support from many colleagues and peers as he doubled down into some field-defining research on pain in neonates and infants, as well as clinical work for underserved populations in the "Deep South" of the United States.
Washington University Publications
Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives
"Kanwaljeet S. Anand Oral History." (2019). OH154-S01-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.