Pain Patients Sound Off on ‘Barbaric’ Treatment — Pain News Network – June 06, 2016 By Pat Anson, Editor
We received a lot of feedback from this month’s PNN newsletter, which looked at the impact the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines are having on pain patients.
The guidelines – which discourage the use of opioids to treat chronic pain — are voluntary and recommended only for primary care providers, yet pain patients say they are being widely implemented by physicians regardless of specialty.
Many wrote to tell us they were being cutoff or weaned off opioids. Some were having trouble just finding a doctor willing to treat them.
I thought I’d share some of the comments with you, as well as some tips on what to do if your doctor drops you from their practice.
Here are just a few of the more poignant story lines:
“I have not had an increase in my pain medications in over 4 years and yet I was told that I may have hyperalgesia
“For myself, I’d choose quality of life over quantity. And I think that’s true for most people in chronic pain. When the pain becomes too great, goes untreated and there’s no hope in sight, I imagine death would be a welcome end.”
If we had an animal that we allowed to live in pain we would be fined or jailed for cruelty to an animal but according to our government it’s ok to do it to people
Even some cancer patients are being weaned off opioids, as we learned from 64-year old Dan Hartsgrove, who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year.
“I suffer every day. Cannot eat or sleep due to the pain,” Dan wrote.
Dan’s pain management doctor said he was taking “too much medication” and discharged him after Dan refused to have a pain pump installed. Even his chemotherapy doctor has lowered his dosage.
“It was fine for me to be allowed the poison of chemo and radiation, however I am allowed no relief from suffering daily,” said Dan. “Where is the compassion?
Tips for Dealing with Patient Abandonment
“It’s important to understand what is happening. Physicians are caught in a quagmire of discontent. They are put in harm’s way by the DEA and other government agencies if they do prescribe opioids, and yet they run the risk of losing their license if they don’t treat their patient’s pain and it causes harm,” Celeste wrote on her website.
Celeste says it’s important to gather factual evidence to protect your legal rights, such as getting a written letter from the doctor stating their reasons for stopping your pain care. The physician is also obligated to provide copies of all relevant medical records.
If you have been harmed due to patient abandonment or changes in pain care, you could file a complaint against your doctor under the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which was signed into law in April.
When I looked up this bill on govtrack.us, I saw only the older 2015 bill that I’d previously blogged about in U.S. House Passes Bill to Ensure Patient Access to Rx Meds
2/12/2015–Introduced. Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015
The bill talks mainly about suppliers: “whether registering an applicant to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance in schedule I or II is in the public interest”. It only mentions access for patients in the very last paragraph:
Directs the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to submit a report identifying:
(1) obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances;
(2) issues with diversion of controlled substances; and
(3) how collaboration between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and the pharmaceutical industry can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances.