It was quite an interesting bittersweet 2 weeks since the launch of PROMPT. I reconnected with many esteemed colleagues from past encounters and have been fortunate to meet a number of others that are truly dedicated to patient care. The support from these pain clinicians has been overwhelming. We will continue to update our membership list of healthcare professionals in support of our mission.
In an effort to show the world that we are not simply a list of names, I have reached out to our members and asked them to say a few words. Additionally, they have been asked to provide a [biosketch] link on our membership page so readers can better understand their role in the pain world.
Kudos to all those clinicians that have taken time away from their dedicated patient care schedules to become part of our group!
14 thoughts on “PROMPT Members Speak Out”
11 years ago, October 30, 2007 started the end of the life I was blessed with. After raising my children I was finally able to complete my lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. I was 36 years old. I had worked in the medical field as a home health aide for 20 years prior to getting my nursing license. I was 40 years old when a freak accident happened at work. While getting a IV prepared for a patient I was grabbed from the side as the patient and the aide were getting into a more comfortable chair. I was trying to prevent this patient from falling and wrapped my arms around her. I had to make almost a half turn to get her safely into the chair. Because she outweighed me by almost 150 pounds the weight of her held my right leg in place and as I turned, my leg remained planted. The 3 of us heard an audible “pop.” I landed on the patient and was immediately nauseous and threw up. I had immediate burning and pain that went from my lower back and down my right leg. After years of testing and hundreds of drs and specialist visits no one could pinpoint the cause of my pain. 6 months after my injury I had to stop working. They had diagnosed me with a lumbar strain in the beginning. As time went on it was clear that something was seriously wrong. I had a burning from my right hip to my toes. Just touching my skin made me nauseous. I did physical therapy, but the pain of exercise made the pain even more unbearable. I started water therapy and that was a bit easier. Because no definitive “cause “ for my pain could be found I started to notice a change in how I was treated. The pain was getting worse, but the treatment I was getting was judgemental. I was told I was “seeking attention” and a “drug seeking.” The sharp, stabbing, burning pain I felt I would describe as a tooth ache and earache combined. It was so intense that my teeth actually hurt. I dropped down from 150 pounds to 90 pounds because I couldn’t eat. The nausea was a constant. I had a pain dr tell me “if you were my sister I would tell you to forget about your pain and get on with my life.” In 2014 after being released from a psych unit, because I told a nurse that kept telling me I was a junkie, that it was people like her that made me not want to get up in the morning. That nurse was so proud of herself. It sickens me that someone like her is taking care of people and I never will again. Anyway, in 2014 I found a dr that would save my life. Dr. Timothy Ko listened to my story on that very first visit and has helped me ever since. After he consulted with a surgeon from out of state he told me that they believed that the original injury was to my Piriformis. A small percent of the population has the sciatic nerve run THROUGH instead of around it. He sent me to specialist after specialist. Each visit was the same. I was barely examined and told they could find nothing. By 2014 I was falling constantly. I herniated 3 discs in my neck, tore my rotator cuff, chipped my teeth and required 3 knee surgeries. My knee surgeries took 3 orthopedic surgeons and 8 months before I found a dr that asked how I was walking around? I had torn the ligament in my left knee and my kneecap kept popping out of place. The bones rubbing together so long that I required debriedment and a synovectomy. The first 2 orthopedic surgeons said I had arthritis and offered me injections. The mri results were present at every visit. Did they not read the results or look at the films? I believe that because of the medications I was taking effected the way I was treated by every health care provider I saw. In January of 2019 I required a hip replacement. Thank God it was my right hip. During that surgery it was found that 6 inches of my sciatic nerve was being “crushed.” My surgeons words, not mine. My sciatic nerve does run through my Piriformis. They said it appears I tore my Piriformis and as it healed my sciatic nerve adhered to it. Every single movement other than lying on my left side completely straight is excruciating. I have a spinal cord stimulator implant in my neck (still haven’t taken care of the cervical herniations that are causing the same numbness and burning to my right arm) and my lower back. I am on 15mgER oxy 3x/day and just started Nulynta twice a day. My pain isn’t controlled by half. I rarely eat because of the nausea and I am fearful of what my future holds. I have been threatened numerous times that I will be losing my medication. I had to follow Dr Ko out of state and travel to his new location because no drs in northeast Ohio would take me as a patient. I have told my Dr and family that my life is so meaningless as it is. The constant excruciating pain is unbearable even with the meds I currently take. Losing the little I have would be a death sentence and yes I do have a “plan.” It troubles me to say that because I have everything to live for. My husband of 33 years is an amazing caregiver and says he will do anything to save me. I lost a son 3 years ago in a car accident. I am my family’s strength. They need a healthy and productive me to carry them through. I never received disability because no dr would be bothered. I have financially ruined my family with the medical bills, and I have good insurance! I’ve searched everywhere for a way to make the changes needed to protect chronic pain sufferers. I truly hope changes are made soon. Otherwise, many more family’s will suffer as mine has. I was turned down for a pain pump prior to the discovery of my injury. I now need to once again search for a dr that can help restore my dignity.
I live with M.S., Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc Disease, and arthritis. I have never been addicted to anything, nor did I try pot or any other recreational drugs. My doctors have always had to sit me down and tell me it’s okay for me to use my pain medication when I need it, as I always had an ad version to taking pain medication. I would take aspirin, and often end up in the hospital from complications caused from the effects of not treating my pain (such as blood pressure pushed to dangerous levels because of the pain.
Just as I had accepted that pain meds were necessary for my quality of life, the “opioid crisis” became the “crisis du jour”. Suddenly patients like me were getting stern looks from pharmacists…patients who live with chronic pain, who are not addicts or abusers. I recently had a tooth so badly infected the pain was excruciating and unrelenting…my doctor wrote a pain med prescription but my pharmacy-and every other pharmacy in town was “out” til next week. I lay on the couch, crying nonstop from the unspeakable, praying for death, to end the pain. When my sister called me, she was alarmed because I was uncoherent, I didn’t know what day it was. Whether it was day or night. The level of the nonstop pain was affecting my ability to think…she immediately phoned my daughter to say I was in bad shape. I don’t remember much, except hanging off the side of a wheelchair, while Emergency Dental group worked on me.
My point is this: doctors KNOW which long-term patients who suffer from chronic pain are responsible and trustworthy. They also recognize addicts who are trying to score pain meds to feed their habits. For me to be able to function daily, and have quality of life, I require my regular pain medications. With my pain managed, I can walk, clean, vacuum, shop, and work on my house. Without my pain medication, I can accomplish very little during the day, and the pain drives my blood pressure to dangerously high levels.
Let legitimate doctors prescribe life-enabling pain medications to their responsible chronic-pain patients. Worry about addicts in a way entirely separate from we who re quite pain treatment in order to be able to live more functional lives. Because we…are suffering.
I also was a patient of Dr. Joel Hochman who gave me my life back and know that Mark kept the forum going and was a kind encouraging person finding placement for patients in advocacy.
I am an avid follower of Dr. Tenant also. I am so disappointed about the American Pain Foundation closing down as they had great brochures, staff, and information. They had one of the best pain journals.
I have read the Washington Laws and the Guidelines that were turned into law and feel the tense surroundings in the pain community fearing the loss of pain control and feel for those that have lost their doctors as they are choosing to stop treating pain patients.
I always thought myself somewhat intelligent and have been in the medical field myself as a Nurse, Radiation Therapist, X_Ray Technician, and Military Hospital Auditor for compliance of medical contracts and programs.
I cannot, cannot understand how the same state that is demanding regulating opoids because the high rate of opoid overdoses., but they allow assisted suicide with very lax rules and monitoring.
The person doesn’t even have to be in pain and is given two bottles of barbituates to kill themself but the same group is in an uproar because a group of drug seekers and abusers are not following the instructions on the medicine bottles and inserts. So as a nation we have to spend millions on this program blaming the opoids rather than looking at the accountability fo the drug seekers and those taking opoids with liquor or other medications for highs does not negate the opportunity for me to have some quality of life.
I am sorry for the loss of lives on the abusers but I believe the grief is misplaced by limiting access for legitimate pain patients. EVERY EVERY PROGRAM, I watched showing the family member who died from overdosing had other underlying problems (mental), or disregarding warnings on medical insert.
What is these people were committed to a facility for help since they were harm to themselves rather than blaming a medication.
My Thesis was “Dying With Dignity” but it did not include the ability for a patient to legally get medication to overdose because it would be easier. One man stayed in a coma for 60 hours and woke up and lived many months more.
What stops a guardian insisting a family member wanted to die with assisted suicide. The main thing the people fighting for opoid monitoring is the thing that kills the person with assisted suicide.
Respiratory Depression is a problem and what kills the person. It is not pleasant, it is suffocating to death.
Something is wrong with the focus of the groups petitioning the opoids. Do they petition insulin, cardiac medication, liquor, smoking ? These all kill if not monitored.
I’ve been suffering from a degenerative disc disease in my cervical spine for 20 plus years.
For 10 years doctors made me suffer and till this day I don’t understand why.
After many failed attempts from epidural injections and other injections to my cervical spine
I was left in even more severe chronic pain.
Finally I found a Psychiatrist \ Intractable Pain Specialist and he had my chronic pain under control in 6 short months.
I worked for Dr. Joel Hochman for 7 years and he kept my chronic pain under control. I thought back on the years I suffered and asked why.
He slowly titrated me up to a level of pain relief using a time released pain medication and one for flare up pain and I was able to return to a
productive member of society. It was then I began to Advocate for others that suffered like I did for no good reason.
That part of my life is over now and we lost Dr. Hochman to kidney cancer back in 2010, he will be missed.
This brings me back to all the suffering I heard of while advocating and I just don’t understand why all the fuss.
Not when help is available and it took just 6 short months for me to get my life back.
I’ve listened to Dr. Portenoy discuss the pharmacology of opioids and the reasons why it is so important to individualize therapy for every patient in pain.
I did some work for Dr. Forest Tennant placing pain patients with Pain Specialist throughout the U.S.
I just hope and pray innocent suffering people here in the U.S. and other countries don’t have to suffer years upon years when help is available.
Mark S. Barletta
See the interview by PROMPT member, Dr. Passik, “I’m not pro opioid. I am anti-BS.”
To Use Opioids Safely, We Need to Stop Blaming the Drugs. http://www.reportingonhealth.org/2012/08/30/dr-steven-passik-use-opioids-safely-we-need-stop-blaming-drugs-0
Based on your reply, you have no clue what it’s like to suffer al day everyday feeling only hopeless!!
How can you be so obtuse? damn..You need to find a way to open your mind!!
I have stage 4 endometriosis, which is incurable, and there are only two treatments available on the market. I’ve been denied for pain medications, stronger than otc medicines, by medical clinics, pain specialists and my own doctor cannot provide more than three refills. I am trying to pay for an IVF, but in the meantime, I cannot get pain assistance from any medical professional because they do not help people with endometriosis. My obgyn and fertility doctors do not specialize in pain management and can only provide Tylenol 3 until it no longer works. I’m in the process of trying to get my ovaries removed, which puts me at a greater risk for Early Onset of Dementia, which many women have contracted due to removing their ovaries too soon. This article was posted in 2012, the opioid crisis has not ended because you can easily get drugs off the streets, and I’ve been living in agony with a poor quality of life since I had my first period. My concern is no longer for myself, but when I do conceive, what about my daughter should I have one and she contracts lupus or stage four endometriosis? I cannot get relief from anywhere, and the ER can easily ban me for misuse of the emergency rooms. What do I do to get out of being crippled and back to being a functional member of society? Surgery doesn’t fix anything, and many of the people I’ve met who have had this disease still have pain after a full, partial hysterectomy, or even an oophorectomy. I cannot make a living while bedridden, and I definitely cannot get a single pain management specialist to HELP ME! Who passed this stupid bill? What about people like me? How am I supposed to work and be able to function? Only two treatments on the market, neither of which work because one causes worsening pain and the other my body has already gained immunity against. What will happen to the women of the future? Are they just expected to die on the streets because someone passed this bill because they blamed medication for their friend or family member’s misuse of it? Somebody please rethink this bill and fix it! Endometriosis might as well BE CANCER since it spreads upwards in a woman’s body and binds, and tears organs!
I am so impressed with what can be done with a few “passionate-about-pain-management” professionals and social media. I am hoping the efforts made by AAPM and the PROMPT initiative will force the authors of the PROP letter to withdraw it. I see that as the only rational option they have. As clinicians we must always have our patients’ best interests in mind and by responding to the ideas set forth in the PROP letter and responding with PROMPT – we have done that. Thanks, Jeff Fudin, for your leadership and passion.
See my Guest blog post on Pain-topic.org; A “PROMPT” Response to the PROP Opioid Petition is at
God help us saw the government has told the doctors had a practice medicine where is it going to stop chronic pain patient severely cannot take anti-inflammatories due to war friend I am one of the people that is punished because of this law I live in severe pain daily 24 seven so they’re telling usthey know how we feel and they’re taking away the doctors ride to compassionately take care of the people that truly need these medications when someone suffers in chronic pain they will go to whatever means legal or illegal to get that relief so you were helping nothing but causing more illegal drug trafficking into this country
The above link will take you to an article in Kentucky’s major newspaper “The Courier Journal” published today (Sunday, August 19, 2012) that pretty well sums up the frustrations of Kentucky prescribers now that a new pain law has been enacted.
Reason should win the day.
The problem is that we are dealing with unreasoning prejudice, and fear.
LETS KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK THAT BENEFITS THE DESERVING, IN NEED.
Jeffrey, words cannot express the importance of this effort, not only to counter the unwise and ill considered recommendations of the PROP petition, but also to put into place safeguards and take back programs to increase opioid prescribing safety and remove opioids from the hands of those for whom they were not prescribed. Kudos for your efforts, keep up the good work. –EK
I am a Pain Management physician in Louisville, KY and Jeffersonville, IN. With the recent passage of a burdensome pain law in Kentucky, my resolve to fight for prescribers and patients has never been greater. I am the Medical Director of Murphy Pain Center, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville, President-elect of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, on the board of the International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency (www.iapcd.org ) , and now a proud member of PROMPT !!!
I look forward to connecting PROMPT-ly with other members and anyone else who likewise is interested in doing what is right, not just what sounds good in a fifteen second sound bite. I appreciate Dr. Fudin and the rest of you more than this brief blog can express.
James Patrick Murphy, MD
Diplomate, American Board of Pain Medicine
Diplomate, American Board of Addiction Medicine
Diplomate, American Board of Anesthesiology
Sub-specialty certification in Pain Management
Murphy Pain Center – Louisville, KY and Jeffersonville, IN
(502) 736-3636 firstname.lastname@example.org