A little HELP from advocates PLEASE! Dr. Murphy shares the humanistic reality.
In a twist of fate, here we have a pain specialist reaching out to the world for help.
Instead of the the more usual scenario of the suffering, downtrodden patient with persistent unrelenting pain reaching out to the doctor (or even politicians) for help, the shoe is on the other foot as they say. Many of us pain management and primary care providers alike certainly can “feel his pain”! Today we welcome guest blogger Dr. James Pat Murphy from KENTUCKY. Below is his initial blog as it originally appeared [with his permission] HERE.
This is what Dr. Murphy had to say…
Another headline today. Another physician indicted. I read the phrase “faces life imprisonment” and it pierces my suddenly fragile psyche like a spinal needle. My resolve threatens to hemorrhage, figuratively but painfully, leaving me wondering why I do this. Why do I treat chronic pain?
I’ve seen headlines like this too often. But I know the doctor in the headline this time. We work in the same hospital. And though I do not know details, I do know that he does not dole out handfuls of pills for cash. He is not getting rich on Medicaid. He is merely a solo practitioner willing to embrace suffering people, many of whom are among the most marginalized, downtrodden, and castoff in our economically blighted community. I hope and pray that truth and justice will prevail. But my confidence is fragile.
Yesterday, my fifteen-year-old son and I were driving in the car, and he asked about this doctor because it was “all over the news.” My son knows what I do for a living. He’s heard me lament about how frightening the heavy hand of regulatory oversight by non-medical types can be for us medical types. I can only imagine how news of another pain specialist facing life in prison must make him feel – how it must make my wife feel, my other children, my parents, my friends, my employees, my patients…all those who depend on me, care about me, love me.
But I don’t dare go into the deep dark honest place in my heart to ask how it makes me feel. I can’t. I have work to do.
I have “Mama P” in my exam room right now. Despite the indescribably painful metastatic cancer that has invaded her spine, she manages a warm smile, offers me her outstretched trembling arms, and we embrace. She is here and she needs me. And as my moist tears well up, I realize that, today, I need her. And I know, again, why I do this.
And I know what we must do to make sure that she and every other suffering soul has hope. We must let pain care providers feel our powerful and uplifting embrace – the embrace of the fragile people they serve – because, in reality, we are all fragile suffering souls. We all need each other.
Let’s do this.
Let’s start right now.
Let’s make PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY happen.
Pain Care Providers Day is March 20, 2015, the first day of spring. It will be a day to recognize our caregivers from all walks of life who do what they can to ease the pain of others.
(JF: And what a coincidence, as this date is smack in the middle of the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 31st Annual Meeting, and of all places, in DC!)
Ways to make this day special might include dropping off a nice thank you note for your therapist, baking some cookies for the clinic staff, sending flowers to the person who schedules your appointments, blogging, or writing a letter to the editor in support of better access to effective pain care for all. Unleash your creativity and spread the message.
A powerful way to raise awareness is by asking your friendly neighborhood municipal leader to officially proclaim March 20, 2015 as Pain Care Providers Day.
A proclamation is a formal public declaration often written by government officials to commend individuals or to raise awareness of upcoming events, celebrations, and issues of significance.
Pain Care Providers Day is a prime opportunity for us to secure proclamations honoring our caregivers from all walks of life who labor, often under duress, to alleviate suffering in our communities.
Here’s how it can be done…
- Identify the best person/office to approach for the proclamation, such as: city leaders, state representatives and/or members of congress.
- Contact the offices to request a proclamation.
- View official websites for instructions on how to submit a formal request; a form may be available for online submission.
- Use the draft proclamation language below as a guide for submission with the understanding that the final language may change to conform to standard protocols.
- If possible, meet with the official for the signing of the proclamation. Take a photograph and obtain permission to use the photograph to further increase awareness of Pain Care Providers Day.
PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY
We can’t just want it to happen – We have to make it happen!
Below Dr. Murphy’s biosketch is a draft proclamation. As always, comments are welcome!
James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from Missouri’s Westminster College, Dr. Murphy attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine and was Vice President of the Class of 1985. His internship was at the San Diego Naval Hospital in the Department of Psychiatry, after which he completed Aerospace Medicine training in Pensacola, Florida.
Dr. Murphy served as a Naval Flight Surgeon with Carrier Air Wing Eleven onboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise until returning to Louisville in 1989 for residency training in Anesthesiology. He practiced in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, before moving to Rochester, Minnesota, in 1997 for a Pain Management fellowship at the Mayo Clinic, returning again to his hometown in 1998 to practice Pain Management. During this time he participated in several overseas medical missions as an anesthesiologist with Operation Smile.
Dr. Murphy is Kentucky’s first physician to achieve board-certification in Pain Management and certification in Addiction Medicine. He is also the first and only Kentucky physician to be honored by selection for the Mayday Fellowship– advocating for pain care concerns.
In May 2013, Dr. Murphy was awarded a Master of Medical Management from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Dr. Murphy is President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society (2013-2014), Medical Director of Murphy Pain Center, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and is on the board of the International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency. Recognized as a potential candidate for public office, Dr. Murphy has been selected by his peers to attend the 2014 American Medical Association’s “Candidate Workshop.”
Dr. Murphy contributes to numerous publications, has presented before national and international audiences, and consults with a wide spectrum of agencies and individuals regarding pain, addiction, and the future of healthcare in our country.
You can read more about Dr. Murphy in the June 2013 Louisville Medicine.
PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS, PAIN is a universal feeling, which for millions becomes chronic, impacting every facet of life; and affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined; and is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system; and
(Ref: 1, 2; see comments section)
WHEREAS, there exist regulatory, legal, institutional, financial, educational, and geographical barriers that impede access to pain care; barriers that contribute to increased suffering along with feelings of despair, futility and shame on the part of people with pain; and
(Ref: 3, 4, 5)
WHEREAS, in the face of this national pain epidemic there is less than one board-certified pain specialist for every twenty thousand pain sufferers; and these pain specialists are subject to tremendous stressors, leading to a high rate of professional burnout, interpersonal difficulties, suicidal tendencies, and even life-threatening physical harm; and
(Ref: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
WHEREAS, because of the shortage of pain specialists, the vast majority of our nation’s pain care must remain the duty of a vast array of dedicated but increasingly anxious medical professionals, kindhearted laypersons, and overburdened loved ones who bravely and compassionately persevere in treating pain as best they can;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, [name, title], do hereby proclaim March 20, 2015, the first day of spring, as PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY throughout [city or state name] and encourage our citizens to recognize all who professionally, clinically or emotionally offer more than their expertise -that is, they offer their hearts- and therefore are deserving of our gratitude, encouragement, and support so that they might carry on, empowered to provide care and comfort to those suffering.
Please use social media to the fullest extent and tweet with the hashtag #WhyPCPD
If you want to connect personally with Dr. James Pat Murphy about Pain Care Providers Day, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Yours truly, Dr. James Pat Murphy
1. Pain Med. 2010 Oct;11(10):1447-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.
2. Fact Sheet: Pain Management. National Institutes of Health. http://report.nih.gov/
3. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Institute of Medicine; June 2011. http://www.iom.edu/~/media/
4. Silent Pain Sufferers. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. February 2006 Volume 81, Issue 2, Pages 167–171. http://www.
5. How the War on Rx-Drugs Victimized Pain Patients. Pain-Topics News. Wednesday, June 20, 2012. http://updates.pain-topics.
6. Chronic Pain in America: Consequences, Addiction and Treatment. Hazelden Betty Ford pain and addiction report, 10.14.14
7. Who Really Treats Chronic Pain? The Necessity of Pain Management in Family Practice: By Michael E. Schatman, PhD, CPE | Health Care Professionals Network: April 21, 2014.
8. Pain Specialists Show Increasing Burnout. Pain Medicine News. ISSUE: NOVEMBER 2014 | VOLUME: 12(11)
9. A killing in Kentucky, How the shooting of one rural physician threatens thousands of patients: March 05, 2010, By Gregory A. Hood, MD, FACP. http://medicaleconomics.
10. An epidemic of chronic pain, by Judy Foreman DECEMBER 08, 2013 The Boston Globe. http://www.bostonglobe.com/