Death in Missouri Preventable

Death in Missouri Preventable by Sarah Simons

This death was most likely preventable :'( this makes me so angry inside. On my very first pain mgmt. visit I first had to meet with a pain psychologist who had carefully and meticulously reviewed my medical file. One of his opening questions to me was, “Has any health care professional ever stated or made you feel like all this pain was in your head?” I said, “Well, yes I have been made to feel that way before.” And he said, “Well, that stops here. I’ve read your file over the last few days and what caught my attention was an ER report from April. You do know you were treated poorly for the first 10 minutes or so correct?” And I said, “To be honest, I was in so much pain I can hardly recall, I was not in a good frame of mind.” He said, “I see here, your blood pressure upon arrival was 220/165, after 5 more minutes it was even higher, is that correct?” I said, “Yes. I remember being taken to a room on a wheelie bed, the lights above me blending together, blurry. Voices sounded far away and my ears were ringing.” He said, “They did a blood lab prior to treating you, are you aware of this?” I said, “No.” (An IV was started right as I entered a room, no idea about a blood draw). He proceeded to inform me that even though I had an extensive history of failed back surgeries, they checked for illegal drugs before treating you. Umm, I found his information interesting but didn’t let it bother me until later. You see… I had had 3 major back surgeries and suffered horrendous pain that would cause what is now on my chart as “Hypertensive Crisis Pain Disorder” which I now know can escalate blood pressure so high that it can cause organ failure, heart attack, stroke, etc… my rapid blood screen came back with Tylenol #3 and Flexeril in it, which is what I was prescribed at the time. The ER Dr. was smart though and ordered IV 1.5 mg/ 2 hrs Dilaudid and oral 10 mg Valium (1 dose). That doctor treated me fairly once the initial assessment was taken of my blood. I realize they need to know what you’re on, but I was communicating, albeit not well, but in writing just fine. After the IV saline, Dilaudid and valium I was feeling better within 25 minutes and significantly better after an hour. They kept me 4 hours and the doctor wrote on my chart, “Highly recommend patients file be expedited to the waiting list at the pain clinic, she’s been waiting 6 months on the waiting list, she needs medication therapy for pain, life-threatening, she’s only 29 years old.” The psychologist assured me that pain CAN and HAS killed many people including: soldiers at war, shock and trauma patients and chronic pain patients. He said, “Your suffering stops here. You will not be treated like an addict, you have been suffering and this could damage your heart, kidneys, liver, brain, bodily function.” I’m so thankful that I picked a hospital that is the only accredited one in our state for treating pain. I continue to pray that I never lose treatment, as I could easily become a statistic – dead from lack of proper medical care. 

This pseudo opioid crisis needs to STOP! The real crisis is the illegally manufactured designer street drugs and that is where nearly all of the DEA’s focus SHOULD be. They continue to perpetuate the stigma that opioids kill people… and forget blindly to say, “illegal illicit opioids are killing people, not prescriptions from legal doctors!” Ugh :/ I get so upset. No real chronic pain stories are told. We are soft easy targets who have a hard enough time getting dressed, let alone fighting against lawmakers, liars, the CDC’s bogus mme guidelines, etc.. no c.p.p. wants to be in pain, no one wants to take medicines, but just as a diabetic needs insulin some of us have pain disorders which require adequate care under the guidance of very knowledgeable teams of doctors. 

This death ought to be investigated and scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. She probably died from heart failure due to going beyond the human threshold of pain based on the dels units scale ~65 del=death from shock, organ failure, etc… Lastly, the medications legally prescribed by doctors are MADE for a reason, they are not made for just ‘anybody’ they serve a very valuable purpose. Those patients who require medication mgmt. from pain that can kill you is why they were made. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this. All pain patients I’ve been honored to talk with all have to “prove” they have pain nowadays. It is awful that this woman died, could’ve been me back in 2010, if that ER doctor had refused. :'( Why do we have to fight for adequate care? There needs to be a pain patients bill of rights and a compassionate care bill enacted. It’s the illegal druggies, dealers, and manufacturers that NEED to be arrested and given lengthy prison terms. Pain patients want to live, we want to be taken seriously. We only want legal options, not illegal. We don’t want to be high. We just need our medication health plan, which should be private but hell it’s not. HIPAA for a pain patient? Nope, not with all the databases. It’s ridiculous! This is a crisis: the refusal of proper care. :'( There needs to be a compassionate care law in place for c.p.p. 

Thank you to anyone who read this long post, thank you to anyone helping to preserve a small quality of life for us who suffer. Thank you to anyone willing to reach out, speak up, fight, etc… it can be seen as a catch 22, damned if you don’t speak up about the abuse of not receiving proper care and damned if you do people who have never had any chronic pain in their damn life think you’re a drug addict :/ This.Has.To.Change. The media has influenced the general public with a false narrative. Even the CDC has admitted to wrongdoing, their calculations were WAY OFF! The number of deaths from opioids in 2017 was ~78,000 initially, but after careful review the number dropped by over 70% because they had combined illegal drug overdoses, illegal use of drugs, including mixing of other drugs like alcohol in with medications, etc… the likelihood of a c.p.p. dying of an overdose is less than 1%. The data is out there, it needs to be relayed appropriately. 

Now I’m going to shed tears for the woman who died, even though I didn’t know her, I understand her struggle and that could’ve been me.

Anyone can become a c.p.p. at any time, due to an accident, severe injury, illness, etc… how would they like to be treated after they’d exhausted all options, including invasive procedures and surgeries? Can’t people at least think with more empathy, “What if that was me? What if that was my daughter, my son, my father, my mother, my child, my baby?” Think.People.Think! One day it could be you. 

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