I’m now walking the second mile in another man’s moccasins, and it’s no more enjoyable than my first mile.
Many doctors cringe when they see a chronic pain patient on their day’s schedule or at least certain chronic pain patients.
Some of that dread isn’t directly caused by the patient but rather the deluge of third-party administrative demands: workman’s compensation updates, disability applications, insurance forms, lawyers’ letters, etc. Continue reading
I’ve written this article to help educate those who want to learn about chronic illness.
It is written from my perspective, that of a doctor who treated patients with chronic illness for many years, and who spent five years of my life homebound due to chronic illness.
I want to spread awareness so that friends, family, employers, coworkers, and health care professionals can better understand chronic illness. Continue reading
When Patients and Their Families Feel Like Hostages to Health Care – Mayo Clinic – Sept 2017
Patients are often reluctant to assert their interests in the presence of clinicians, whom they see as experts. [… or law enforcement in the ‘opioid crisis’ -zyp]
The higher the stakes of a health decision, the more entrenched the socially sanctioned roles of patient and clinician can become.
As a result, many patients are susceptible to “hostage bargaining syndrome” (HBS), whereby they behave as if negotiating for their health from a position of fear and confusion. Continue reading
The American Patient Defense Union is Now Accepting Complaints From Patients Across the United States – Oct 2017
Could this be what we need to push back against doctors withholding pain care or, even worse, stopping opioid prescriptions without taper?
This message is to inform you that The American Patient Defense Union is now open to receiving your personal complaints and grievances in interacting with Healthcare providers, insurers and drug/device companies.
Three categories of complaints will be considered by The Union:
- Personal grievances about “process issues” at specific hospitals and practices.
- Complications or allegations of harm at the hands of specific practitioners, hospitals or drug/device companies.
- Personal financial difficulties, collection notices or bankruptcies caused by specific hospitals, practitioners or insurers.
Please limit your initial communication with The Union to a 500-word email submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please describe your grievance as concisely and specifically as possible.
Following review and consideration of the information you provide, we will conduct a personal interview by phone in order to strategize with you.
No communication with your providers or insurers will take place until we have conducted an interview and obtained your full consent to proceed.
If you wish to communicate with us via a secure two-way encrypted email system, please create a free email account at protonmail.com and use it communicate with us.
Please note that The Union is strictly focused on individual patients’ specific and personal narratives of grievance or complication resulting from treatment by specific healthcare facilities, practitioners and drugs/devices in the United States. These can range from simple to complex matters.
The Union hopes to ultimately identify broad practices and policies that are causing financial or physical harm to individual patients across the United States — in order to address public policy issues on a larger scale. However, our strict starting point in all cases will be the individual American patient’s story of difficulties, conflict with or harm by specific practitioners, hospitals, insurers or drug/device companies.
The Union is NOT a law firm.
However, in cases where we do believe negligence has occurred, we will recommend that you seek legal guidance.
We are aiming to defend your rights and voice, publicly —You, The American Patient.
The Union seeks to establish large-scale collective bargaining power capable of political lobbying at the state and federal levels with the goal of shifting medical practice in the United States away from a profit-driven corporate mode towards a patient-centered system.
In achieving this goal, we need you to rise up and empower this union.
Please note that you are filing your complaint with The Union voluntarily. After verifying the information you provide, The Union will initially use this to generate a professionally-crafted and adequately-measured signal to the healthcare or insurance entity causing the grievance.
This signal will be in the form of a letter of warning from The Union, to the entity you are interacting with, requesting immediate action on your behalf.
Should the provider/insurer not respond in an adequate or timely fashion, this letter of warning will be shared with the public, the press and all members of The Union in order to maximize public scrutiny/exposure.
Ultimately, as The Union acquires member-driven power, it will provide the litigation services necessary to create changes to the behavior of our healthcare establishment using the individual grievances provided by our members.
Every Patient and citizen/resident of the United States is invited to join The Union. Specific instruction to join, including member fees, will be provided at www.patientrights.org in the near future.
Let’s begin to develop the powerful backbone every American patient needs to defend against harm in seeking a healthier tomorrow.
The CDC’s Fictitious Opioid Epidemic, Part 2 | Journal of Medicine | Medical Journals | National College of Physicians – By Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D
A CDC Guideline for prescribing opioids in chronic pain was published in March 2016. It has become clear that this [CDC] Guideline is generating horrendously negative results for both chronic pain patients and their doctors.
Many doctors are choosing to leave pain management rather than face possible prosecution by State or Drug Enforcement Agency authorities for over-prescription of pain relieving opioids.
Tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of patients are being summarily discharged without referral and sometimes without management of opioid withdrawal. There are increasing reports of patient suicides. Continue reading
Educating Patients About Pain Medications – Practical Pain Management – Last updated on: October 28, 2014
Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, famously said, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” Medications also don’t work in, and can even harm, patients who don’t take them as intended.
In a meta-analysis of research studying medication adherence and treatment outcomes, nonadherence accounted for 33% of hospital admissions for adverse drug events.
Nonadherence to an analgesic regimen could result in untreated pain or adverse events, which can cause decreased productivity and increased employee absences. Poor provider– patient communication has been identified as a barrier to adherence. Continue reading
Clinicians Should Never Disrespect Patients | October 14, 2015
I recently read a piece in a prominent journal about the ongoing problem of providers mocking their patients during surgical procedures. It was really troubling, and I think it highlights a common disconnect between providers and patients.
we’re all at risk of putting our own concerns and interests front and center and seeing the patient as little more than an annoyance.
There are endless examples of this, including the language clinicians use to describe patients in charting and documentation. We routinely accuse patients of being “non-compliant.” If a patient says that they don’t have a headache, we say “patient denies headache,” as though they are testifying in a court of law and we are suspicious of their motives and truthfulness. Continue reading
A Letter to Patients With Chronic Disease by Dr. Rob Lamberts
This is a re-post of a wonderful essay from a few years ago that delves into the reasons for the lack of understanding and empathy between doctors and their patients with chronic illness.
Dr. Lamerts gives good advice for how we pain patients can approach our doctors to get them on our side, instead of alienating them.
Dear Patients: You have it very hard, much harder than most people understand. Having sat for 16 years listening to the stories, seeing the tiredness in your eyes, hearing you try to describe the indescribable, I have come to understand that I too can’t understand what your lives are like. Continue reading
Many people throughout the years have asked me why I became an advocate, and my answer is found in what was a perfect storm of several factors.
One large one was losing my ability to work in the executive career
This loss, coupled with having to navigate the social security disability system and the back-and-forth with my private disability insurance company, made my overall health (both physical and mental) much worse Continue reading
America is a nation in pain, according to a new analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. [NIH report is included at end of post]
The analysis, published in the Journal of Pain, is based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, an annual undertaking that asks thousands of Americans about their health- and illness-related experiences. The survey quizzed people about the frequency and intensity of pain they had experienced during the prior three months.
Among the other findings that emerged: Adults grappling with higher levels of pain, perhaps not surprisingly, tend to have worse overall health, use more health care resources and suffer from more disabilities Continue reading