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Frustrated with my Pain Specialist!!

Started by jennk37 on 06/01/2011 11:45pm

I am very frustrated with my pain specialist and cannot believe the control on peoples lives that they have. Because of my recent experience with them has made my belief come true. I recently called my specialist (approx 2 weeks ago) asking if I could come and speak with the doctor sooner as my pain is worsening. I haven't seen this specialist in 3 months. The receptionist stated "I highly doubt it because he is very busy. I can't get you in sooner" I asked her if I could at least be placed on the cancellation list because I am on a medical leave now because of being too ill to work even. I reclarified and stated that "my pain is worsening and because I can't get in sooner I will have to suffer until I see him?" She stated "That's correct." So, I got placed on the list awaiting a call that never happened. I tried to suck it up and go on with life trying to hide the increased pain.

A week later, my husband walked into our bedroom to find me laying on the bed crying in pain. He asked me if I spoke with my pain specialist about this and I informed him that I tried to call them last week. Well he proceeded to take matters in his own hands as I was in bed crying. Unbeknownst to me, he called the office asking to speak with the pain specialist. The doctor never got on the phone and the receptionist stated "she needs to take her muscle relaxers". My husband apparently told them that my pain was worse and that he wanted to talk to the doctor and since the doctor did not care about his patients then maybe "we" should start looking for another pain specialist.

Well, the other night during a conversation, I asked my husband what exactly did he say to the clinic and he told me. The following morning, I called the clinic and asked about my upcoming appointment. The receptionist stated "well your husband called and said that you might be looking for another pain specialist, so we cancelled your appointment." I stated "How could you cancel an appointment without approval from ME the patient? My husband is not the patient and this should have been clarified first and I should have been notified." I proceeded to ask the receptionist when the next appointment would be. She stated a date which was 3+ weeks past my "supposed to be" appointment. I said "I have to wait 23 days to see the doctor again?!! When it wasn't me who cancelled?" I asked her "well then since I have to wait this long does my family practitioner continue the care and control my medications until I can see Dr. ___"?? She stated "Well you can't get any medications only thru us because of the contract." I yelled at this point (I'm sure) "You mean to tell me that not only did you cancel my appointment but you are telling me that I have to go without medications for 23 days?" She stated "That's correct. Hold on let me talk to the doctor... (on hold for 5 min)... Yes, he said that you have to wait until you see him next to get any meds." I was extremely frustrated at this point and yelled "WHAT CONTRACT?!!" She stated "The contract that you signed stating that only our office can control your medications. Hold on one sec and let me pull it up..... (on hold again).... Uh.... Well....I don't know why..... Uh...this has never happened before.... But... I guess we don't have a signed contract with you." I stated to clarify "You mean to tell me that I have to wait for 23 days and suffer in pain and possibly end up in the ER this weekend from severe pain because I need to wait to see the Dr??" She stated "That is correct." I stated "BUT since you don't have a contract with me, my family Dr. can continue with my care and give me the medications that I rightfully deserve until I see Dr. ____?" She stated "You have to wait until you see the doctor." I stated very clearly to get this straight "I have to wait to see the Dr. and wait for the meds but since you don't legally have a binding signed contract with me I can get my meds that I deserve thru my family doctor, IS THAT CORRECT??!!" She stated "I guess that's correct. But we need you to sign that contract the next time you come in. I have you on the cancellation list and you'll have to sign that contract."
This is wrong in so many ways!! Not only did they violate my patients rights to recieve appropriate treatment but they have also violated HIPPAA laws as well. This is manipulative and inhumane and should not be tolerated. I fear that if I go back that they will retaliate against me and withhold treatment after I sign the contract. This kind of control should not happen. I realize that the DEA needs to monitor the controlled substances but it should not dictate a lack in treatment. Where's our patient rights?? Mine have been violated. What would you all do?? Thank God for my PCP, he is aware of everything and will control my meds until I see the quack. I'm frustrated beyond words. Why is this happening to me??

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9 Responses

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Has this ever happened to anyone else? Or am I the only one? Should I look for another doctor?

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what have you decided to do? there are many options out there and being in chronic pain is not one of them. I see a neurosurgeon on Monday as I don't want to be on meds for pain without knowing exactly what"s wrong with my back. I know some of the problem and have put this off for as long as I can, but it's become worse to the point where even sitting hurts....

Have you seen anyone other than pain management doc for treatment or advice?

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I would find another doctor. I almost typed dictator. I have a contract with my doctor too but I think it is more to cover his butt than anything else. I recently had knee surgery which has nothing to do with what I see my pain management specialist for. My surgeon was concerned that there would be increased pain that my current pain meds could not handle so he prescribed something anyway. I told him to notify my Pain Dr. so I didn't get into trouble and he said I was under HIS care for surgery and that was that. It was just a short supply of a heavy pain med that I was very great full for the first few days and then went back to my normal meds. My dilemma is whether to even tell my Pain Management doc about it. I see an other doctor for migraines and my pain doctor knows about those meds. I asked him what do I do when my regular doctor gives me codeine cough syrup when I'm really sick about once a winter do I have to get his permission for that too? He knew that sounded a little silly so he said no but to make sure he knew about it all for when I had to have urine tests. He feels as long as he is aware of what my MEDICAL TEAM is doing to MANAGE MY HEALTH CARE with him the lead on CHRONIC PAIN he should be OK when it comes from the perspective of the state inspecting his files and his license. Your doctor doesn't sound like he cares about your pain and over all well being but rather his practice. A trip to the ER with him as your doctor who has refused to see you might be a wake up call but I would still see if there is anyone else in your community ---and interview them before you sign anything with them! Give them examples of situations and ask them how they handle them.
I have a spreadsheet with my doctors and what they have prescribed to me and how to take it and what surgeries or procedures I have had. I keep it up to date and print it out to bring to the doctors with me. It is easy for them to read and shows that I am not hiding anything from anybody. I also keep a notebook with copies of all the tests and reports from all the doctors I have seen which I bring with me including blood reports. It's a portable medical history file from all my doctors to share with any of them. Show them you are serious about your health care and you expect them to be serious about it too!

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Been there - done that. The real problem with all this is extremely complex - but 90% of the time it comes down to the 'nurse' or receptionist who deals with the patients. They are apparently under intense pressure to conform to office 'rules' and end up acting like computerized robots with set responses to all inquires - especially when it comes to MEDs. In some cases - some of these people are down right 'stupid' and cannot add 2 + 2. The only true, 'real-time' recourse you have (other than going to the ER or finding another DR) is to go into your Dr's office without an appt. and say 'something' in a fairly LOUD tone of voice about needing to speak to the Dr immediately. I had to do this once - and I never had a faster, and desired, response from the Dr. in my life. An unhappy patient (aka customer) in the waiting room is NOT good for BIZ.

While in this one example the problem was 100% with the nurses who could not even read and interpret my Dr's instructions correctly - for the most part, physicians have a huge problem with the DEA nowadays. They have huge malpractice insurance costs and they fear a DEA investigation far more than they care about their patients. (If they lose their License - they are basically unemployed). So many of these Drs. now delegate 95% of what use to be their responsibilities (such as filling prescrips) that they have no choice but to force their nursing staff to adhere to a very strict office wide 'policy' for both MEds and even appts. (Most Dr see 40-50 patients per day!). If they didn't do this - then a small % of patients would call complaining of pain and get more meds then they really need - and the Dr really would have no clue what is going on. Eventually, the abnormally high number of pain killers being given out would result in a state or DEA invetsigation. A real mess either way. The docs probably feel 'if the pain is THAT bad - then go top the ER'.

Bottom line - this is a very bad situation for all involved - and patients are always at the bottom of the totem pole. The only solution is to force yourself into the face of the Dr - if its required. Because most of the time, behind this mess of a health system we have - there is a Dr who probably does care to some extent about his patients well being. Just need to get to him!

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The one way to reach a Dr without the gatekeeper is to call after office hours to the on call physician, sooner than you run out of meds. The use of the ER for preventable situations is deplorable and your insurer might want to hear about this as well as the Medical director of the Hosp. Let your husband do all of this. Also if you look up HIPAA on the web you will see theU.S. Dept of Health and Human Services office for Civil Rights handle the violations and they take all violations seriously. There are separate offices for the different regions of the country. If you are sufficiently angry these things may help. Your Dr should be there for you.If he does not have time for you you should have been told so that you could have found another Dr. There are other Drs eager to have you.
I quit myPain management Dr when he was made medical director. I knew how busy he was going to become. I also wanted a female. I found out that No on had ever left his service voluntarily. Apparently it kicked his ego a bit. My surgeon agreed that I had to do what I had done, he said, "He will get over it" I was assigned a great Dr who spent more than 5 minutes with me. Now she is assistant med director and I asked if I needed to be assigned to someone else. She brought up the prior Dr issue and said she was going to be able to manage my needs. ...I know that if I want the control I can always leave her as well. You need to remember that You always are in charge. You make the final decisions. You do not have to give it up.
And lastly, if the place you are has a county medical society, call them with the info or have your husband do it. Its only a slap on the wrist, but the satisfaction may be there for you. sjkRN2 another intractable pain patient or chronic pain pt as well as an RN. Outraged for you. Good luck.

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I have a pretty good pain doctor but I am so tired of all the crap about narcotic pain relievers and the media. The hoopla about addiction is caused by a few people rather than the thousands who do take medication just for their pain.
There was no reason for you to be treated like that, I would write to the disciplinary office in health and report them for violation of your right to be treated,
I had to report a nurse who cared for me after surgery because she refused to give me the amount of dilaudid IV that the doctor ordered both on the chart and on the phone when she called him to see if it was a mistake,
There were no other RN;s on the floor so I went almost 10 hours after a 11 hour surgery without any kind of pain medication because as she said, "that amount would kill an elephant"
They had to put me in the ICU and sedate me heavily after the doctor found out I was actually losing consciousness because of the severe unrelieved pain,

Report him but first find a new pain specialist before the same thing happens, If you are in pain go to the ER and demand that they call your doctor for a immediate RX

Let me know how this goes, Im sorry your going through this.

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I have a pretty good pain doctor but I am so tired of all the crap about narcotic pain relievers and the media. The hoopla about addiction is caused by a few people rather than the thousands who do take medication just for their pain.
There was no reason for you to be treated like that, I would write to the disciplinary office in health and report them for violation of your right to be treated,
I had to report a nurse who cared for me after surgery because she refused to give me the amount of dilaudid IV that the doctor ordered both on the chart and on the phone when she called him to see if it was a mistake,
There were no other RN;s on the floor so I went almost 10 hours after a 11 hour surgery without any kind of pain medication because as she said, "that amount would kill an elephant"
They had to put me in the ICU and sedate me heavily after the doctor found out I was actually losing consciousness because of the severe unrelieved pain,

Report him but first find a new pain specialist before the same thing happens, If you are in pain go to the ER and demand that they call your doctor for a immediate RX

Let me know how this goes, Im sorry your going through this.

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I'm having the same problem with my musculoskeletal doctor. I work full time and my pain is getting worse and I'm about out of pain meds and they told me that I'd have to wait 10 days to see him in order to get a refill. I can't get out of bed without something for the pain. I work full time and have a 2 year old daughter. How the heck am I going to manage that??

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I,Well u hav 2 options.(and im a nurse)
1.If u like that dr then call back n make a big stink,u technically hav to been seen at 30 day mark because your on pain management.Tell her that
2.If u trust ur primary and its closser ride and u think he will supply u with scripts,u only need orthopedist or surgeon for follow ups or any complecations.
I went back to my primary and,he gives me the time and scripts needed, ( but not all do ) bring ur paper MRI reports n script bottles.Their easier to se, primarys and,less $ on insurancs and as long as u hav paper reports in chart,no reason why primary wouldnt treat u long term.Docs get narc audited by state every 3 months with an amount of distribution to patient.Thats why most r so stingy.But as long as u have documentaion, pimary should b willing.( no guarentees,just a suggestion).I just read your blog again,,,GO TO UR PRIMARY WITH UR REPORTS. Good luck, feel better.oh and make sure they have u on an anti-inflamatory...RENE :)

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