My best friend has been suffering for almost a month now because his pain management doctor dumped him without warning or cause. He's a veteran, blind, and a cancer patient (relapse of leukemia) (If he can't get help, what chance do the rest of us stand?). He's afraid that he isn't going to make it to his 33rd birthday this Sunday.
While some may assume that this blatant malpractice is a fluke in the system, it has salt become par for the course. I, myself, am vastly undertreated and lost my pain management doctor January 2012 and have been looking for one since.
The media and the DEA are scarring our doctors away from prescribing these essential medications.
New doctors are warned to avoid pain management and the remaining pain management doctors are instituting injection only policies where they do high profit procedures that cause most of us an increase in pain or they only make recommendations. Recommendations are fine, if you're PCP is willing to follow the medications and prescribe your medication, but few are. This recommendation-only policy also causes significant lags in care, which means an overall lower quality of care.
We walk into doctors offices, hospitals, urgent cares, and emergency rooms to find signs that say that pain medications will not be prescribed. Imagine if you walked into your doctor's office to found a sign saying that they will not prescribe insulin to diabetics or beta blockers to hypertension patients?
I'm all for a solution to the abuse problem, but we need to focus on helping addicts get off drugs with Rehab and methadone while educating kids before they start. Stopping chronic pain patients from getting relief solves nothing.
While Florida is one of the worst states, Texas, Pennsylvania, and dozens of other states have significant issues. There simply aren't enough pain management doctors for every CP/IP patient to see one, especially since most PMs don't prescribe anyway. PCPs and other specialists must start treating chronic pain patients, especially theones on low doses, already stabilized by a pain specialist, or unable to find a pain management doctor.
As Hippocrates said, "cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always". I'm not sure if opioids count as treatment or comfort, maybe both, but letting patients suffer without relief from pain when pain is possible is far from anything in the Hippocratic oath.