Tag Archives: outrage

Abandoning America’s Pain Patients

How Did We Come to Abandon America’s Pain Patients?Filter Magazineby Alison Knopf – July 2019

This is an excellent article pointing out exactly how pain patients have been neglected and dismissed by the medical system. Kudos to Alison Knopf for her exemplary work.

Overdoses—not those involving prescription opioids, but of heroin and illicit fentanyl, often combined with benzodiazepines—continue to go up. But opioid prescribing continues to go down.

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No Shortcuts to Safer Opioid Prescribing

No Shortcuts to Safer Opioid Prescribing – Deborah Dowell, M.D., M.P.H., Tamara Haegerich, Ph.D., and Roger Chou, M.D.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in 2016,1 the medical and health policy communities have largely embraced its recommendations.

Although outpatient opioid prescribing had been declining since 2012, accelerated decreases — including in high-risk prescribing — followed the guideline’s release

Indeed, guideline uptake has been rapid…

…as the survivors of loved ones who fell victim to pain induced suicides after their effective pain relievers were taken away can attest.    Continue reading

Physicians Call on Politicians to End Interference

Frontline Physicians Call on Politicians to End Political Interference in the Delivery of Evidence Based Medicine – May 2019

This is a move in the right direction, but my feeling is that it’s too little and too late. If the practices they oppose are so important to them, why did these groups wait over three full years to speak up?

It looks like they were cowering in the shadows until other, much more courageous, doctors were already speaking up.

Our organizations are firmly opposed to efforts in state legislatures across the United States that

  • inappropriately interfere with the patient-physician relationship,
  • unnecessarily regulate the evidence-based practice of medicine and, in some cases,
  • even criminalize physicians who deliver safe, legal, and necessary medical care.

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Opioid Addiction AND Pain Treatment

One of us was a pain patient saved by opioids, the other was addicted to them. We both deserve a solutionLos Angeles Times – By Ryan Hampton and Kate M. Nicholson – Apr 2019

This is an excellent article in a popular mainstream publication written by two people on the opposite ends of the “opioid crisis”. They point out that a common solution is needed, not one at the expense of the other, as has been done in the past.

Opioids have figured prominently in both our lives.

  • For Kate, they were a lifeline after a surgical mishap left her unable to sit, stand or walk for more than a decade.
  • For Ryan, they were a gateway to a dark decade of heroin addiction.

many Americans believe that we have over-treated pain at the expense of those who became addicted to prescription opioids.   Continue reading

Rx Drug Monitoring Programs: Helpful or Harmful?

How Helpful—Or Harmful—Are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs? – FilterMag.org – by Jackie Rocheleau April 9, 2019

Before admitting new patients to his practice, Dr. Miguel Diaz checks their prescription history. Diaz, a family medicine physician with Community Care Physicians, PC in Clifton Park, New York, logs onto the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, or PDMP.

There, he sees everything the patient has been prescribed during the past year and who prescribed it.

PDMPs are now being used for all “scheduled” medications, not just opioids, and are made available for perusal by law enforcement and their minions.  Continue reading

Hospital Stays Are Becoming Hell on Earth

Hospital Stays Are Becoming Hell on Earth – by Heather Wargo – Feb 2019

This story is worth reading in its entirety (link above) and warns us about trusting even hospitals to treat our health emergencies if they involve pain. Mentioning pain instantly makes us suspect and we are assumed to be “drug-seeking”.

America’s Hospitals are Refusing to Properly Treat Pain, Leaving Patients In Agony

When I had an endoscopic ERCP procedure* performed in May 2018, it was supposed to be an in and out procedure. Continue reading

Death by 1,000 Clicks in Electronic Health Records

Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief.

Two months later, Monachelli was dead of a brain aneurysm, a condition that, despite the symptoms and the appointments, had never been tested for or diagnosed until she turned up in the emergency room days before her death.

Monachelli’s husband sued Stowe, the federally qualified health center the physician worked for. Owen Foster, a newly hired assistant U.S. attorney with the District of Vermont, was assigned to defend the government.   Continue reading

CDC Issues Key Clarification on Guideline

CDC Issues Key Clarification on Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain | ASCO – April 9, 2019

I’m angry that the CDC issued this clarification for only three discreet conditions

  • cancer patients,
  • cancer survivors, and
  • individuals with sickle cell disease.   

Because it so carefully carves out these three very specific conditions for special notice, it seems to imply that any other conditions not listed are currently being understood and implemented as intended, and I’m afraid it could become even harder for chronic pain patients to get opioid relief. Continue reading

Opioid Tapers: Voluntary or Involuntary?

Oregon at impasse over opioids for chronic pain: Voluntary vs Involuntary – by Markian Hawryluk @markianhawryluk – Mar 2019 

Oregon’s efforts to prevent opioid overdoses have reached a difficult impasse: what to do with the chronic pain patients who are on high doses of opioids now considered unsafe.

No one ever showed that high doses of opioids are unsafe; opioids are as safe as many other prescription drugs.

The popular storyline that “opioids are unsafe”, gets accepted as fact by the people that are making decisions about our access to them. Such “common knowledge” is repeated ad nauseum and rarely questioned when it fits the cultural mood, just like the myth that patients would be better off without opioids.

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Bribing Doctors Not to Prescribe Opioids

Fewer Opioids, More Pay: New Tack on How Doctors Prescribe Them –  by Jacquie Lee – Nov 2018

To put it simply, doctors are being bribed by insurance carriers not to prescribe opioids.

Some doctors in Michigan are prescribing as few as four opioid pills for pain relief after a common gall bladder surgery.

And, in return, they are paid 35 percent more for doing the surgery in tandem with patient education.

The plan is an effort by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to reduce the number of opioids prescribed.    Continue reading