I’m shocked that some who call themselves a medical professionals can believe that the aftermath of an amputation does not require opioid pain medication, but that’s exactly what happened:
Despite protestations that new federal and state hard lines on painkiller prescriptions do not affect cancer patients or people fresh out of major surgeries, many of those in health care’s trenches feel differently.
Dr. Dan Laird was treating an elderly man in Nevada who, despite efforts by the physicians and other doctors to save his leg, ended up having to undergo an amputation. “He lost the battle, his leg was cut off,” Laird said.
A week after the surgery took place, the man called Laird in agony and desperation.
He had been discharged from the Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas with no painkiller prescription.
“No pain medication!” Laird told Fox News in an interview. “Having a limb amputated is one of the most painful things you can have done. And the tibia is one of the most painful parts of the leg. He had unimaginable, horrific pain. I was so mad, I called the hospital.”
“They said that the new [Nevada] law means we can’t prescribe to patients when we discharge them,” Laird said, recalling what he said he was told
But Laird is also a malpractice attorney – and knew the state law chapter and verse.
A spokesperson for the hospital contacted by Fox News did not offer comment for the story.
Hospitals don’t want to be held accountable for the suffering they are causing their “patients”.
Can we even call it “health care” when pain relief is withheld deliberately?
In his 25 years of practicing medicine, Laird said, “I’ve never seen anything like this, an environment where it’s acceptable to mistreat chronic pain patients, where there’s an animus toward chronic pain patients.”
“Opioids are dangerous drugs. They have to be prescribed with extreme caution,” he said. “But for people who’ve had their leg cut off, or someone who has cancer, or has been in a bad car crash, there’s nothing worse than leaving them in pain.”
In Michigan, Dr. Fran Van Alstine, a specialist in palliative and hospice care at the Munson Medical Center, has also seen how far the long arm of the war on opioids can reach.
The state has a 14-day day limit on opioid prescriptions, even for patients like his, who have advanced cancer, chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure.
He said he recently had to jump through hoops to get a painkiller refill for a terminally ill patient who was released from a hospital, and about to enter hospice care.
The insurer denied the prescription because the man’s medication record showed “red flags” – opioids prescribed by more than one doctor, at high dosages.
The man died 24 hours after finally getting a refill — spending his final days in pain.
This is my ultimate nightmare: dying in pain when it’s so absolutely unnecessary. I cannot understand why a human being would deny relief like this.
We are dealing with a truly amoral, unprincipled, financially motivated healthcare system now.
This system follows the anti-opioid zealotry to align with current cultural trends without any consideration for collateral damage to patients – or even hard science.