I WANT AND NEED MY MORPHINE PUMP REMOVED, HOW TO ASK MY MD.

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Healthy57
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/2/2017 11:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I am moving to a very rural part of the midwest, permanently, and the closest md that MIGHT deal with Medtronic is well over 225 miles away. I need it taken out because I no longer need to use it, for one.(I use meditation and self hypnosis and it really helps). Second, my financial status has changed, MEDICARE only covers 80% and I already have an ever escalating bill with my doctor. His book keeper does not understand that after paying required bills like housing, food Medicare premiums, utilities etc, I have less than 10 dollars to pay ALL my mds.
He has been dificult to convince, saying I will be suffering after, yet, I want and NEED to have it taken out. How would any other patient exercise my rights of self determination over my body? I get easily intimidated, and I know he will push and push for me to keep it in. Yet, where I will be living, there is no ER or hospital just in case, if I am forced to keep this inside me, and when the batteries start corroding this could start health problems Im,sure. Please can someone review my narrative and give sample instructions that I can tell my doctor ? I really appreciate any help I can get PS Is there any clinical,research on folks, who by choice or financial problems, let the pump run dry and let battery die out, do these folks have any worries to be concerned about?

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 19780
   Posted 10/3/2017 4:14 AM (GMT -6)   
i would print of your post and take it in to the doc. if he refuses to remove it, obviously this doc sees you as a cash cow and will put in on, thus do the required thing and ask for it out, if you get the same bs, go elsewhere. i would document what is happening and i would suggest you seek some advocacy regarding your rights. take someone in with you to the doc who can advocate on your behalf. midwest, thus i think you are in the us? if so, then i am somewhat a little useless on advocacy service provision. ring your closest hosp or community health centre. i am in australia, however more friends will pop in with more info and support. welcome to the forum.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 14989
   Posted 10/3/2017 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Healthy, are you still getting your pump refilled? If you are getting it refilled still, the dr has to wean your dose down to avoid withdrawals. You cannot let the pump run dry, the withdrawals would be so horrendous you would need to be hospitalized. Considering your finances you do not want to go that route because hospitals are not cheap!!

You can be weaned off the pump & not have it removed. If you are set on having it removed then be prepared to have to pay the 20% up front for the surgeon & hospital. The pump is a self contained unit, I don't know who told you the battery would corrode & cause issues.

Given that you are wanting to not depend on it any longer I suggest that you set down & talk to the PM dr & explain the move & the expense you can no longer afford. I would not discuss this situation with anyone but the dr.. The staff does not have the authority to make this type of decision.

You can call Medtronics as a last resort but I really don't know how much help you will get there. They will contact your PM dr that you have called them about this. This call may help you or work against you.

If you have a family member or friend that can go with you to the appt that may help. But again, please do not consider letting the pump run dry, I can assure you, there is not enough meditation or hypnosis in the world to get you through withdrawals.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2312
   Posted 10/9/2017 8:53 AM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry that this is causing you so much anguish. I kind of agree with Susie. You can definitely choose not to receive the medication any more. If you can manage the pain without any medicine in your pump, that's wonderful! Obviously, whenever meds can be avoided, avoiding them is the better option.

As for getting the pump removed, that is a bit tricky for someone who isn't having any medical issues from the pump and doesn't have a lot of money. Insurance companies will typically only pay for the removal of the device if it is causing you some kind of problem. Otherwise, there is a lot of research that shows people have successfully left them empty for decades without using them & have had no problems from that whatsoever. The risks associated with the ex-plant surgery are much greater than simply leaving it in a person's body and not using it. Again, insurers are not keen on paying for something that could end up costing them even more money due to potential complications from the surgery to remove the device.

If you had the money to pay cash for the ex-plant surgery, I would suggest that. With an insurance company, it is going to be quite difficult to try to get approval to have the device removed. I had an SCS that had to be removed due to life-threatening medical issues & even the insurance approval for that was an absolute nightmare that took months of letter writing & 100 hours of research on my part to get approved. I wrote to my state Division of Insurance. I threatened the insurer that my family would sue them for "wrongful death" if they refused to cover the ex-plant costs and I died as a result of the infection that had been going on for 8 years straight. It was a long & exhausting process, and that was with medical PROOF that my chronic infections were directly caused by the implant and were not treatable -- as evidenced by multiple rounds of antibiotics & minor debridement procedures -- while the device was still inside me. The infections were evident within a couple weeks after my implant surgery and caused me to have a lot of expensive trips to the doctor, wound care, infectious disease & the ER ... and it was ultimately a combination of making the case that ex-planting the device would very quickly start saving the insurer money along with the threat (and medical evidence to back it up) that without the surgery I had less than 1 month to live, that ultimately convinced them to cover the procedure. Even at that, I had to borrow money from my family to pay $2,500 up front toward the cost of the procedure since we only had a pre-determination, rather than a letter of pre-authorization.

In short, I guess that means my recommendation would be to try to figure out if there is something that would cost your insurer more than $20K if you kept your pump in. It would have to be backed up by some kind of clinical evidence that the risk actually applies to you. Yes, sometimes things can go wrong with pumps (almost all of them are for pumps that are active, not ones that are off but still implanted in your body) but the evidence needs to be specific to your case -- for example, if you had an inflammatory mass that formed at the catheter site that was causing paralysis, that would be a strong case for getting the thing removed.

I will say that I've researched this thing a lot as my PM has recommended I get one &, after the problems I had with the SCS, I'm quite nervous. I have not seen a single case of there being a battery that corroded & caused health problems... in case that helps put your mind at ease at all.

Healthy57
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/9/2017 1:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much, I guess I will be leaving it in. I do know that I will be asking about the alarm indicating the pump is empty, if it can bebypassed. It was awkward in group of people when it rang (and rings very frequently ) because everyone would jump and grab their cell phones. I am contacting Metro nice to see about this as it might not fall under the purview of my pain med doctors knowledge of pump.
Many thanks again I pray all works out for you
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