Pain Doc in Trouble - Now What?

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modelmaker
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/18/2009 12:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,

Well this one takes the cake. We here all have problems with pain--that's why we are here. My pain doc has been having back pains of his own for some time. He tells me that the regs prohibit him from prescribing for himself or taking narcotic pain meds prescribed by others. During my last visit this guy looked and acted like he was not 100% there. Not even close. He spoke slowly, stumbled over words, long periods of silence and very foggy memory of things we had talked about. Rambled on and on about the evils of med. board and how they were trying to "get him". On my way out of his front office he asked to see me again, in his office. He proceded to cry about how his practice is going broke. Then thanked me for listening. If that wasn't bad enough, he called me on Sunday and went on and on again how nice I was to listen to him. More about the med. board and more. Then he took off and was talking about whether his first priority was to his family or to his patients. I told him his first priority was to himself. He had to fix himself before any of the rest mattered.

Now I am caught between the rock and a hard place. I want to help but that really is not my responsibility. If I do nothing, he might hurt himself or a patient. I do not want a troubled doc as my pain doc. I've got enough problems to deal with already, thanks very much. So what to do?

If I report him to the medical boards they may lift his license and I'll have to start all over again finding a new pain doc. If I befriend him further I might be enabling bad behavior. If I do nothing he may hurt himself or someone else. It looks like I have to find a new doc anyway no matter what I do. I do not really need this stress right now. I am hurting enough. I don't need more.

I agonized over this for two days and came to a decision. I called the medical board and reported the situation. I feel really bad on the one hand. On the other I sensed he was calling out for help. And the last thing I needed was to hear that someone was hurt in someway because I failed to act. I hope I have done the right thing. I feel just awful for him. But maybe this way he will get the help he needs. I'm not sure I feel better now. How about some ideas. I could use a little help about now.

Modelmaker
Degenerative disc disease, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13476
   Posted 5/18/2009 1:48 PM (GMT -7)   

Modelmaker you did the right thing. Now this can will be investigated and if they find any irregularities he can get shut down temporarily. If he has no prior problems with the state board they can require him to go into rehab in order to keep his license. He can also get another dr to come in his clinic and keep his doors open till the whole thing is resolved. Unless he has done some really bad things and is a first timer they can order him to have another dr work with him in the clinic for x amount of time, he could be suspended from writing rxs for a length of time-but he can get another dr in to write the rxs too. I have seen the above happen before.

Make an appt with your PCP and explain to him/her what happened and get a referral to another PM dr. Rather see that happen that this guy kill another patient or you. He needs help, that was a cry for help too.

Good luck, Susie



anice
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 5/18/2009 3:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Modelmaker, WOW that was a biggie. I do think you did the right thing to report him. I know it was a hard thing for you to do. He really could have hurt someone,maybe not intentionally but still the same that could have very well happened. And worse than hurt, he could have written a potentially fatal dosage for a patient. For him to confide in you could go different ways. Obviously he felt he comfortable discussing it with you. But I think that was very unprofessional on his part. And then to call you on Sunday at your home-still unprofessional.

Please do not feel bad about this. He was in the wrong. I am sorry he was having back pain. Being a doctor does not elimianate him from hurting. However, if he was and it sounds pretty obvious,taking meds while working-that is clearly wrong.You did the right thing. He could have hurt someone or caused someone to die!!! Thank you for doing this. There is no telling how many people this may have saved. And most importantly, you are one of them!!!

I am so sorry that this leaves you to find another doctor. But you PCP can help you out in that aspect. You may not tell him that you turned him in. That shouldn't matter. But I don't want this PM doctor to know that it was you. It may put you in danger. Do you know if the board will keep this confidential? I think they have to. Anyway, you hold your head up. It took courage to do what you did. I am proud of you.
Anice

modelmaker
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/18/2009 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Tony, Anice and Susie,

I feel better already from hearing your input on the situation. I have never been backed into a corner like this and it is not fun. But as you all said, he could hurt, disabled and killed someone. He was still doing procedures as far as I know. Not on me....I wouldn't let him stick needles in my spine in that condition.

I insisted on anononimity from the med. board. Not a problem. He will never know it was me. But I got the feeling in talking with them that there have been others calling in as well. So they have had him in their sights for a time. This may be the straw so to speak.

Anyway, it's done. My life goes on. Now looking more intensively into SCS as a solution. My daughter has a high position in one of the large medical groups in the area and she is doing some research for me.

Thanks again for all your support. I feel much better for having made the decision.

Modelmaker
Degenerative disc disease, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.


LLPLUV
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 5/18/2009 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Modelmaker I give you a standing ovation!!!!!! I bow to you. This is one of the hardest positions you were put in.

Laurie
39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD
Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea
Hopefully NO MORE........ I think I have it all


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13476
   Posted 5/18/2009 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   

Modelmaker I know that when all of this took place in the office and then the call at home on top of it, your head had to been spinning. I am still in shock. I saw alot of stuff first hand working all those years for an atty and being involved directly with so many drs, this story is tops. I saw many well known local drs that were board certified specialst go down the wrong path because of drugs. We had a neurosurgeon here that was extremely highly regarded by his peers and he was a whiz at brain injuries. He was the very best in his field and he went south because of drugs. I saw the same with lawyers. I never could get my brain to wrap around, why highly professional people with more money than sense, would risk blowing it all like they did.

Its really odd the old boy ranting about the state board to you the way he did. Makes me think he may know they are on to him. I do know the board does a lengthy investigation long before they ever pay a visit to the dr. Something tells me this has been brewing for awhile now, its just now beginning to hit him what is probably going to happen next.

Whatever you do, please do not ever feel guilty for making that call. He needs help and most likely he will now get it. Like I said before if this is his first dance wih the board, he may get off fairly easy if he takes their recommendations serious.

We will never know how many lives you potentially have saved by doing what you did. At best, you have helped in preventing anyone from being harmed by the guy.

That is awesome news about your daughter. It never hurts knowing the right people in the right places. Susie 



Dagger
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 5/18/2009 5:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Don't tell your PCP or any other doc that you reported your doctor to the medical board! While you definitely did the right thing, it may make the other docs nervous even if they have nothing to hide.

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3611
   Posted 5/18/2009 6:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Modelmaker
I Congratulate YOU! From what you said I do believe the Doctor was calling out for help, and if he really knows you and trust you, I bet he knew you would do what you did, and that is why he chose to talk to you! He could not turn himself in, and I bet he knew he needed intervention, and he knew you were the one to do it! If he has been your Doctor for a while and he knows you, why else would he pick you to talk to and tell you everything? Your a stand up guy Modelmaker! You did the right thing! You might have even saved your Doctor, and you most definitely saved many of his patients!

I do believe that Dagger just might have a valid point though, I don't think I would mention this to your PCP or any of your other Doctors! most would probably feel the way we do, but you never know and some might not! Reading your post really tells me allot about the type of person you are, and I for one am really proud to be on this forum knowing that your a part of it!
I do hope you can find another Pain Doctor soon, and you don't have any lapse in your treatment and care!
Good Luck to You Modelmaker

White Beard
  I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/18/2009 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Modelmaker,
I agree you did the right thing. Really, there was no other choice, but it's still a hard thing to do. The medical board has some responsibility here; if this doctor is practicing illegally and unethically, the medical board should help you find other pain management services if you can't do it on your own. Now they may buck that responsibility, but it's actually the responsibility of a doctor not to abandon his/her patients, and in illness to make other arrangements for the care of his patients. So if you can't find another PM and don't want to talk with your PCP, call the medical board back and ask for help. IF necessary find the name of the head of the committee (probably can do this by searching the internet) and write them a letter.

It's possible your doctor was having difficulty finding his own relief from CP, and that he just needs to be monitored. On the other hand, it's possible he has gone too far, over the edge into addiction. Certainly his talking with you and calling you are totally unethical behaviors. You did the right thing.

Hugs and Cheers,

PaLady

modelmaker
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/19/2009 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,

Thank you so much for all of your messages of support and understanding. From time to time I still wonder if I really did the right thing. After all, he did not ask me outright to do what I did. He just confided is innermost thoughts and fears with me...twice. And he did it in a way that had me very concerned. It was anything but a normal conversation.

Anyway, it's done now. Your messages reaffirm my belief in my own judgement. I may be getting older and body is starting to fail (starting in the spine and working its way outward), but I really think my mind and reasoning are still sound. You have confirmed that. I appreciate it!

What do I do if should meet the doc. on the street or in a store or whatever? Hi doc, how's going? Long time no see? How's the business going? Maybe I'll just say "Hello" and wait for a response!

You hear stories where somebody who has lost everything starts looking for the people responsible. I don't think this guy is one of those but you never know until they are pushed to the edge. I guess I deal with that one when and if it happens.

Thanks again people, you are the best.

Modelmaker
Degenerative disc disease, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/19/2009 11:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Modelmaker,
As someone indicated, you probably weren't the only complaint. If you run into the doctor he should either be apologizing to you or just saying hello and moving on or ignoring you completely. But you have no responsibility to him to do anything. If I met one of my doctors on the street I sure wouldn't consider it professional for them to have any kind of conversation with me, other than hello. He probably may not know it's you, but you probably weren't first in line in reporting him. If you saw such extreme behavior, he probably wasn't hiding it from very many others.

What he did in talking to you was totally, completly unethical and unprofessional. I say that as a professional who has quite stringent restrictions on boundaries that it's my responsibility to maintain. Your doctor should have been reaching out to colleagues or professionals for help, not to his patients, but this may force him to do just that and that's a good thing in the long run. There are often programs for professionals who have serious addiction or mental health problems and they can often return to practice once they've had treatment, but they are monitored by other professionals. Your doctor isn't going to stay practicing long without help. His behavior was way over the edge. I'm sure his staff sees it, too. So just think that you were one of many and he's not going to be thinking clearly enough to know at this point.

Take care,

PaLady

modelmaker
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/19/2009 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
PALady,

You always have such clearly stated and insightful views on things. I appreciate your objectivity at a time when my feelings are competing with my own objectivity. You are, as always, correct and right on the money. We are very lucky to have you on board, PALady. Thanks again.

Best,
Modelmaker
Degenerative disc disease, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.


White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3611
   Posted 5/19/2009 1:48 PM (GMT -7)   
PALady, and Modelmaker
I agree the doctor should have reached out to a colleagues or some other professionals, and above all not a patient! I guess, that is what seems so weird about all this, he surely would have known that you Modelmaker would turn him in, or at least do something! He would have had to, think that, would he not? That is why I think he picked you out! Why else would he do that? The whole thing just doesn't make much sense! But I sure think you did the right thing Modelmaker!

White Beard
  I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

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