"Not everyone is hypnotizable," said Dr. Elliot Krane, director of pediatric pain management at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford, Calif., adding that children can't be hypnotized reliably and some faiths preclude followers from entering a trancelike state. And even if the patient is a good candidate, the hospital might not be.
"Hypnosis takes time, skill with hypnosis and patience, as well as a quiet location," said Krane, "and these three elements are not commonly found in a busy operating room in most hospitals."
But Mount Sinai's Montgomery hopes more research by him and others will encourage more hospitals to offer the service.
"Don't get me wrong. I'm really glad anesthetics were developed," said Montgemery. "I don't view hypnosis as a replacement; more so, I view it as a compliment."
Even anesthesiologists like Krane and Schmidt said they'd give it a try.
Gould credits hypnosis for her quick and spirited recovery from mastectomy. Even her nurse, whom she cheerfully mooned in the recovery room, was amazed.
"Hypnosis got me through one of the worst moments in my life," said Gould. "I'm proud to say I am a breast cancer survivor."