Dr. Walco discusses his career beginnings in pediatric pain medicine. He describes field observations of "barbaric" practices that were founded on the notion that children did not experience pain the same way adults do. Dr. Walco recounts some landmark events in the 1980s and 1990s that gained public notoriety and aided in developing the field of pediatric pain medicine, including the Jeffrey Lawson case-study of a premature baby who was administered thoracic surgery while awake and conscious. Dr. Walco then describes early experiences in a field with general disregard for the pain and suffering of pediatric patients. The need for pediatric health care advocacy drove him to connect with other health care providers to investigate multi-disciplinary, multi-organizational level solutions to improving the quality of life for pediatric patients. Dr. Walco describes the barriers and successes he has experienced in pain medicine as the sub-specialty has evolved in the last thirty-five years. Dr. Walco also describes the vision he seeks to achieve within pediatric pain medicine, as well as the work he is doing to continue to advance the field in establishing the best evidence-based practices.
Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
"Gary Walco Oral History." (2019). OH154-S34-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis.