Carl A. Hess
Dr. Carl A. Hess is an interventional spine and pain management physician at our Fullerton, California location. He is board certified in Anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) and double board-certified in pain management/pain medicine by the ABA and the American Board of Pain Medicine. His practice is 100% devoted to pain management. With over 35 years of experience, he has performed over 15,000 interventional pain procedures, from simple injections, to ablation, to implantable devices. He also serves as a medical legal expert in pain management and anesthesia, including record review and testimony, evaluations, medical malpractice cases, personal injury and worker’s compensation.
Born in Santa Monica and raised in Long Beach, California, Dr. Hess attended the University of California, Irvine, where he received Bachelor of Science degrees in both biology and chemistry. He also played 2 years of college tennis at UCI. He attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he received his Doctorate of Medicine. Further, he completed his internship and residency in anesthesiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, including advanced training in pain management.
Dr. Hess returned to California to academic medicine, where he was director of the Pain Management Center and Pain fellowship program at the University of California, Irvine Department of Anesthesiology, a position he held for 8 years, reaching the level of Associate Clinical Professor. During that time, he trained residents and fellows in Anesthesiology and Pain Management, developed board certification in the specialty, and helped with legislation for pain issues. He shares with us how he became interested in his specialty: “I was initially drawn to medicine because I was proficient in science and mathematics. But it wasn’t until I was accepted into undergraduate clinical research that I witnessed the degree of human suffering that accompanies medical illness and trauma. I performed research in burns which included laboratory work, but it also allowed me to attend clinical rounds with the doctors in the Burn Unit at UCI. I saw and interacted with patients with up to 90% burns of their body surface area and some down to bone. They were in agony and they were disfigured and their lives and identities were gone. Perhaps the worst was that their identities were now defined by their agony. This had a huge effect on me at the age of 19.
As I proceeded through my medical education and training, I never forgot those burn victims and their families. How their lives were irreparably changed, but how their condition could be improved to tolerable, even satisfactory to content, by caring, empathetic, and skilled medical professionals. I never forgot the quote by Albert Schweitzer, ‘Pain is a more terrible lord over mankind than even death itself.’
And it led me to the road I’ve taken; the treatment and management of pain.” He has been in private practice pain management for over 25 years.
In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Hess has worked and taught in leadership positions during his career. He has given many presentations before professional societies and medical conferences. He’s published in journals and textbooks, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors.