My mother passed last summer. That was about six months after her doctor decided to take her away from pain medication for chronic pain. The doctor said my mother did not receive pain medication during a recent stay at a hospital and nursing home, so she did not need it. I looked into that allegation and found it not to be true. My mother indeed was getting regular pain medication at both the hospital and nursing home.
The doctor then went on vacation the day after removing my mother from medication. Without the doctor’s order, the clinic was unable to fill a needed prescription. I had to ration my mother’s remaining medication while the doctor was gone. My mother suffered great pain.
Upon returning from vacation, the doctor referred my mother to a pain specialist. Upon visiting with the pain doctor, I discovered that my mother’s primary care doctor told the pain specialist to not prescribe any pain medication for my mother. I was given no reason. The pain specialist was many miles from our home and it was difficult for my 84-year-old mother to travel, especially since she was in constant pain. The specialist finally did prescribe a pain medication that was highly inadequate for my mother’s pain level.
I feel that my mother’s excessive pain was, in part, responsible for her death. My hope is that the Legislature and medical profession will not use painkillers as a political football, and that they should be distributed when they are needed. Withholding pain mediation from patients in legitimate need will not solve Maine’s opioid addiction problem.
Joy L. Sirois