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Pain management rights??

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:51 pm
by pedrime
Happy Monday everyone--

I thought I'd draw upon the vast collective knowledge of this board and ask--DO THESE EXIST? And if so how do you flex enough legal muscle to an arrogant MD to enlighten them that you mean business?

Last week, my mom had bone/nerve resection surgery in her arm. Her surgeon prescribed a paltry 25 Vicodin and as he wrote the script made some passing comment about the dangers of addiction. Totally unsolicited--no one asked him for more or has any 'using' history. Meanwhile she is in enormous pain and quickly running out.

Also, a few days ago my 77 yr old dad fractured his rib (one of the most painful injuries there is) and my stepmom asked the ER doc for the strongest stuff he could write. When the doc walked away the nurses rolled their eyes and told her he never prescribes Percocet so my dad ended up with 16 Vicodin.

Fortunately for my dad his internist will give him anything he wants should he need it but I am so damn frustrated with the consistent undertreatment of pain in my family.

My mom is stubborn/tough and refuses to call the dr for anything more when she runs out. But she will moan groan wince when the time comes.

Any advice on how to handle these situations successfully without appearing 'drug-seeking'

Thanks for your time.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:24 pm
by Polar Bear
Just a thought, but could you speak to your mom's primary doc on her behalf? Good luck.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:05 pm
by Sojourner
PB, Interesting question. Did some web surfing and found various references to pain management and the rights of patients. Seems many are related to particular hospitals or similar institutions that promote state of the art pain management while at the hospital etc. Found one interesting piece of legislation from California--where else! ... _bill.html

As you will note, the banner heading is for the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain. So, some consumer advocate agencies do exist at least here in the States.

Anyway, I think the advice to check with you PC is probably the route to go or ask to speak to someone "higher up" at the hospital to voice your displeasure and how you perceived you concerns were met with by staff. Best of luck. M.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:54 pm
by becat

Pedrime, the link above is to the American Pain Foundation and they know their stuff. They could give you an honest answer for this question.

With your parents, I had to wonder if age, and if they have help while at home made a difference.
Sorry, I would have been in the Doc's face, if what he or she was writing was not effective or enough. That stuff is stupid and crazy.

You could always use Jumyowl's favorite part of the Doc Oath, "I shall cause NO HARM!"
Well under treating pain is harmful and can create a long lasting result of long term pain. That is causing harm.

Yes, as a RLSers that uses pain meds., I myself, find it hard to have another painful condition. I realize that this is not your case, but part of the politics of helping me and some others on the board, effect everyone.

There are some docs that ignore the constant oversight of the DEA and the Feds, here in the USA. Some just bow down to it.

LOL Dr. B. is always saying that some day the FEDS will be at his door and he hopes we will all spring him. LOL Call for a Bail Out.
:D Only because he writes what is needed, not what he thinks will keep him under the radar.

Everyone has the right to pain management. Period. However, in many places or states, we have to fight tooth and nail for it.

Sad, and silly, I know that some mess it up ofr the others and abuse.
But those ones should be taken to task, not someone after surgery or a massive injury. Ugh.

Hope they both get help soon.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:13 pm
by Neco
I suppose you could also consult a malpractice lawyer and see what they say. At least in my eyes, undertreating pains and those comments that went with it, constitutes malpractice.

If you have any video recording devices you could stalk your mom and catch her clearly in pain and out of medicine and then raise a stink with the doctor, and news too.

That sucks.. I'd definitely call somebody to complain, I'm sure a Hospital manager would LOVE to have you bugging them every time of the day.

Hopefully you can talk to her primary Doctor and tell him how you all were treated and what was said and get some sympathy on their part.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:58 pm
by ViewsAskew
I wish I had some magic wand to wave. I surely don't. I can only concur with everyone that this sux and isn't right.

The war on drugs seems to be highly misguided. It's terrified doctors so they often will not do what they know to be right because of the risk of losing their license. If I had that risk to my livelihood, I'm not sure I'd be able to be cavalier about it...and would probably subconsciously protect myself, even when I thought I was taking care of my patients.

Some doctors have been sued and are forever shy. Some have seen a patient become addicted and go through the torture of stopping. Maybe that patient lost family, income or property because of it. They feel that they must prevent this from happening to anyone else.

But, regardless of why and even when the why makes sense, it's not right, nor fair. As Lynne's doc in Texas said one time at an RLS meeting, these laws are protecting about 7% of us. They are hurting the other 93%. That's because only about 7% of us get addicted to things. Not that this isn't costly, but the cost to the rest of us must be larger. Except it's not the in-your-face-cost that addiction in. It's the quietly suffering cost.

I'd think that supporting the groups that have been posted so far is the best thing all of us can do. Help them get legislation through. Write your congressman or senator when votes are needed. It can't help your mom and dad right now (though their family doc probably can), but will help them and everyone else in the long run.

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:38 pm
by pedrime
Thank you so much for all your responses... I really appreciate all the time you took and the helpful insights!

I guess I've concluded there's no warring against the war on drugs (esp here in my conservative Ohio suburb). I know I could complain, etc, but live in such a small community all you get is a 'bad patient' rap and gain nothing. In the future I will speak to my parents' primary docs when these issues arise. Both are older MDs whom I know are not intimidated by the DEA.

Also there's always the pain mgmt route if either has long-term issues.

I wonder if the tide will ever turn on this. I don't think even a liberal congress & pres would seek change. Unfortunately for those in pain-- politically unpopular.

Anyway thanks again everyone--I can't get over what a caring and intelligent group this is.


Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:42 pm
by Neco
They'd legalize heroin before letting up on all this FDA/DEA war on drugs crap.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:59 am
by pedrime
You are so right, Zach. I have a cousin who's a (recent) recovering addict & he says it's easier these days to get street drugs than opiates. Go figure.

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:18 am
by ViewsAskew
We eventually figured out the certain types of welfare do not work - it's hard to give people something for nothing and expect them to want that to change.

So, there is hope.

Then again, thinking about our puritanical roots...maybe not.