Better to let 95% of surgery pts to suffer in pain during recovery than risk that MAYBE 5% become addicted ?



Summa Health eliminating opioids from surgeries

AKRON, Ohio — Summa Health System has drastically reduced the use of opioids in surgeries at all of its hospitals as a direct result of the opioid crisis.

In 2017, Summa used narcotics in 98 percent of procedures, but now that number stands at 20 percent.

By the end of the year, the goal is to use narcotics in 10 percent or less of all surgeries.

“My goal is to eliminate the opiates from what we do in the operating room completely,” said Dr. Thomas Mark, the chairman of the anesthesiology department at Summa Health.

Mark said studies show addiction can start with just one dose of an opioid during surgery for up to six percent of patients.

“That’s unacceptable. We do 20,000 cases here at Summa. That means just because somebody had the audacity to have surgery, 450 people potentially face addiction,” Mark said.

Instead of relying on opiates, Summa is using regional blocks with local anesthetic that can last 24 to 36 hours, a continuous peripheral nerve block that can deliver medication directly to an affected area of the body, or a combination of over-the-counter pills, therapy and a pain management approach.

Mark said he’s also stressing to surgeons to cut down on the number of pain pills prescribed to patients after surgery – a trend he believes must continue to reduce the number of people who get hooked on narcotics and overdose.

For many people, pain pill addiction becomes a gateway to more dangerous drugs like heroin.

Nicole, a 32-year-old woman from Stow, told News 5 she became hooked on pain pills about 10 years ago.

“I would get them off the street and basically buy scripts off people,” she said.

She overdosed once on heroin and a second time on carfentanil, but has been clean for more than two years.

“I basically have to take it one day at a time and work with others to keep my sobriety.”

Since the changes, Summa reports a a higher satisfaction rating and patients returning home much earlier due to quicker recovery times.

Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center has reduced the use of narcotics in colorectal surgeries to 17 percent and has also decreased opioid use in breast and bariatric procedures.

On March 5, the city of Green, the drug task force and Summa Health will discuss pre-operative and post-operative non-opioid pain management at Green City Hall. The event runs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

9 Responses

  1. How many more will choose suicide over untreated pain?
    How many more will lay tormented in intractable pain?
    How many people do you know are crazy drug addicts because they received pain relief after surgery? I’m sad, not only because I suffer 24/7, but because of the uncontested lunacy at the helm of medicine.

  2. Can anyone find any way to contact this reporter? I clicked on his name & at the bottom it encourages people to email him, but I didn’t find an email address anywhere. And I love that there’s no way to comment on most of these egregiously incorrect “news” stories.

    • I’ve noticed this time and time again no one can be reached. They produce these stories and the Hell with anyone in pain. I think they get a kick seeing people hurting or they would look at the other side of this issue.
      People who are not expected to live are being denied pain relief as are those living in horrible pain with an otherwise untreatable disease which has NO cure is UNACCEPTABLE and INHUMANE.
      These aren’t people who stubbed their toes for goodness sake! This a VERY cruel world we live in and just because some are addicted to illegal drugs and they want to believe or at least have us believe they started with pills. BS! It’s not like this hasn’t been going on since the beginning of human life on this planet. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  3. The rate of addiction for opioid naive patients is nowhere near 5%: latest shows less than 1% ( Moreover, the same article shows that you can dose patients quite heavily (i.e. adequately treat their acute pain) with no increasing risk from higher doses.

    “Mark said studies show addiction can start with just one dose of an opioid during surgery for up to six percent of patients.” Bullpaddies. I’d really, really love to see a citation of what “studies” show this…tho I’d wager he’s actually referring to one of Killer Kolodny’s 1.5 million opinion pieces….there are no actual studies that show any such thing.

    These freaking ignorant arrogant sadists should be banned from medicine.

    • Thank you. I believe it’s the super rich blood-drinking satanists who actually run this country behind this. Just as they murdered all those people (thousands) in the Camp Fire they want as many dead as possible before they do the rest of us in.

  4. And the article quotes a woman who admits to buying drugs on the street (an illegal behavior) yet someone her addiction and criminal behavior is more worthy of compassion and concern than people in pain through no fault of their own? She overdosed on illegal drugs and not from a prescription following surgery!

  5. So when the rates of people overdosing on illegal drugs don’t drop, who will they then blame? I told my doctor that it does not matter if no one is ever prescribed an opioid ever again, there will still be people buying illegal drugs on the street and overdosing. Our streets are flooded with these drugs and for 10 or 20 bucks, a person can get high. This widespread availability coupled with the low price is what fueled the current crisis – it was never pain patients and their doctors. The DEA knows this but pain patients are an easy scapegoat since it is very dangerous to go after the cartels. We are low-hanging fruit. This is insanity. Healthy people are cheering this one, not realizing what being in pain is really like. I hope Dr. Mark is subjected to the same protocol if he ever needs surgery or develops a painful condition.

  6. They could screen people for risk but I suspect the only reason they’re doing it for the federal grant money.
    Same for all the other hospitals not prescribing opioids when discharging surgical patients. Whatever they get for this barbaric treatment is too much!

  7. Thank you, Pharmacist Steve! People should know about the horror at Summa Health systems and never, ever go there.

    This is monstrous! This “doctor” Thomas Mark clearly knows nothing about addiction and what causes it.

    Here’s a clue — addiction is NOT caused by exposure to drugs. Most people in America have had opiates at one time or another, yet less than one percent of Americans are heroin addicts.

    Is it possible that so-called Dr. Thomas Mark really believes treating pain causes addiction? He’s obviously stupid. Look at how he misused the word “audacity.” Or is he just a sadist, glorying in the agony of people who endure the hideous pain of surgery with no pain management, or enjoying the fact that people will refuse surgery they need and thus die because they fear suffering with no pain relief in sight.

    Whatever it is, Dr. Thomas Mark should not be practicing medicine. He should lose his license and his job.

    As for the alleged “changes,” where is the proof? The news5Cleveland journalist who wrote this article is as stupid as the “doctor” is sadistic. Everyone should avoid Summa Health Systems.

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