my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

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Latest post 11-01-2007 2:46 PM by ClydesMom. 9 replies.
  • 11-01-2007 1:14 AM

    Angry [:@] my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    I have been a patient of my pain doctor's for almost a decade now. I've always attended my appointments, followed the dr's instructions, filled my rx's appropriately and recently my dr. started charging all his patients $25 to mail them their rx on the months they do not have an office visit. This equates to about $225/year each patient. There is actually talk they want to raise it! This month I sent in my check with my note and they cashed the check but didn't send my Fentanyl. I sent it in enough time so that there would be time to get there, get processed and get to me but two weeks later I still didn't have it and I started calling but nobody would return my call. Finally I got ahold of one of the administrators on a Friday and she said she was sorry, it got misplaced and that somebody was in trouble. I then explained once again that I was out of my Fentanyl and going into terrible withdrawal (it had been one week since I'd had any) and even though the law states a doctor can call it in to a pharmacy provided an original is brought in within 4 days the doctor wouldn't authorize it and I didn't get the feeling she tried hard. It wasn't until the next day that she called in a few lortab which is not an opiate and which does very little when you are in major withdrawal from an opiate. I was having serious heart palpitations, trembling, night sweats, insomnia, back and leg spasms, and felt so depressed and anxious (like someone was constantly picking at my brain) that I felt like I really might have to think about ending it. Obviously, this was from the withdrawal cause I have never felt this way before. Three days later (still no fentanyl) the dr. office then made me drive 1 1/2 hours to their office to get the rx that they were suppose to have sent weeks ago. They apologized but then they turned around and told me that instead of coming back for my 4 mo. appt. they wanted me to start coming every month. I was dumbfounded that I was having my rx procedure changed because of an error that they freely admit was theirs. Because of the frightening and drawn out withdrawal situation, my entire daily life is revolving around thinking about and worrying about whether I am going to have this happen again and whether the next time I will be able to control myself or not. I'm also having nightmares every night about what happened. I don't want to go into withdrawal again, I barely made it out of this one, and I've read that you aren't suppose to go cold turkey and yet my dr. knew this was happening and sat back and did nothing. When I went to the office nobody there even checked to see how I was doing and I was in terrible shape. These days my life is nothing like it was, I am extremely on edge, frustrated, and have trouble concentrating on anything or sleeping. I was just getting started on a hobby that I was hoping would bring me some pleasure since so much of my life these past ten years have revolved around my pain and what I could do that wouldn't make the pain worse. Do I have any grounds for a lawsuit on the basis of intentional physical and emotional affliction? Some other grounds? Loss of enjoyment of life? Something? His office has admitted that they really messed things up by not sending my rx, admitted that they cashed the check, admitted that they got my phone messages, and yet once they knew I was in withdrawal and needed their assistance they did not help and even made me drive a long, dangerous road for me to get my rx when they legally could have phoned it in. I'm really getting the feeling that a lot of these doctors think that it's a little game with pain patients,,,hook them on something strong like opiate,,,and then let's see how many crazy hoops we can get them to jump through for their meds,,,,and I'm sick of the whole thing. The physical pain I have is more than enough, I just don't need anymore pain. I wish there was something more people could do to report doctors like this. Any advice or suggestions would be great. Thanks.
  • 11-01-2007 8:44 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    Please use the enter key in future posts: large blocks of text are hard to read. No, this is not a malpractice situation. Most if not all reputable pain physicians/clinics have requirements of their patients in order to obtain their pain treatment especially narcotics. Some of which include how often they have to be seen, what pharmacies that can be used, only using one physician for narcotics, and requiring that they sign a narcotics contract agreeing to the terms in order to get them. They are also free to change the terms if they feel they need to for the patient's safety, the law, or their protection. It is an area of medicine that is very closely scrutinized so as to make sure a physician isn't running a prescription mill. They are also allowed to charge for their services.

    Lortab is a narcotic. It contains codeine. It just isn't anywhere near as powerful as Fentanyl which is 100 times more powerful than Morphine. I don't know of ANY state that allows Fentanyl to be called into a pharmacy but in your state I could be wrong, however most physicians will not call it in because it can set off a DEA warning and triggers an alert causing an investigation of the pharmacy AND the prescribing physician. If their policy is not to call it in it is perfectly within their right they are not required to.

    If you were in withdrawal that was that severe and pain that was that severe you had the option of going to the emergency room for your immediate problem. A simple administrative error in your pain doctor's office that caused no lasting damage does not indicate malpractice. Your options are to work with their policies or find another pain physician whose treatment practice is more to your satisfaction.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 11-01-2007 12:19 PM In reply to

    re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    In future posts, please hit "enter" twice every so often to create paragraphs; big blocks are hard to keep following.

    Bottom line is that you were free to see another doctor and it doesn't appear that permanent damage was done. You're free to file a complaint with the state medical board though.

    "I was having serious heart palpitations, trembling, night sweats, insomnia, back and leg spasms, and felt so depressed and anxious (like someone was constantly picking at my brain) that I felt like I really might have to think about ending it."

    Then perhaps you should have gone to an ER.

    You also need to understand that the doctor could insist that you come in for an office visit each time the prescription is renewed. I'm not sure why you have a doctor 1.5 hours away.

    Sounds like you need to address the overall situation with a specialist. (You don't say why you need such a powerful drug.)

    "Do I have any grounds for a lawsuit on the basis of intentional physical and emotional affliction?"

    But there wasn't intentional infliction of physical and emotional affliction.

    You are free to talk with a local med-mal attorney, of course.

    You are responsible for addressing your own mental health here, and it doesn't sound as though you've talked with professionals in this regard.

  • 11-01-2007 1:13 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    Permanent damage WAS done, I can't sleep, I can't eat, and I am constantly concerned about this issue. Also, the situation at hand is the withdrawal that he intentional put me through. I have never had a problem with coming to his office, it's just that in this situation I was not scheduled to nor does this have anything to do with anything. What you failed to understand is that I sent my check, they cashed it, and then did not send my rx like they agreed to do. Just as I have agreements with them that I must keep they do too. I have them on tape admitting to their screw up. The place where they really messed up is when they knew that I was going into withdrawal and they did not get me my rx that day, for which there is no excuse! If they had called it in or let me pick it up that day my withdrawal would not have been near as bad as what it was. Addressing this with a specialist? Da, that's what they are suppose to be but as you can see they are extremely disorganized and not in touch with how serious their role in this is. I disagree with you that there wasn't intentional infliction of physical and emotional affliction. You obviously have never had serious pain, to the point where you couldn't move any part of your body, and you obviously know nothing about what a person's body and mind go through when they go into a sudden withdrawal. I think that YOU really need to think twice before posting things like "you need to address your mental health here". That was cruel and unnecessary and the person that needs to address something is my doctor, and whether he wants a lawsuit on his hands. I'm not the one that agreed to treat a patient and got them hooked on Fentanyl and then played little games with it. Do you not understand that discontinuing Fentanyl abruptly like this has been known to kill people or cause them to kill themselves or others? It has nothing to do with that person's mental health, it would be the same for you, me or anyone else. It is a physiological effect that happens when an opiate is suddenly stopped, in other words, those feelings are normal but in my doctor's situation he had to have known this and if he didn't he should not be practicing. If he did, he should not have been so relaxed about the situation and should have immediately corrected it. You also aren't familiar with the DEA information--a doctor CAN call in Fentanyl provided that they turn in an original within 3-7 days. They had several options here, they could have sent the rx priority and called in my med the same day i talked to them or if they had asked i probably would have gotten it even though it would have meant a very long drive for me. I encourage you to read up on what a person goes through from opiate withdrawal, some people have to go into a detox clinic for 1-2 years just to get off the stuff and 60 percent relapse so it's not something to be taken lightly. It is not the same as quitting tylenol as your post suggests.
  • 11-01-2007 1:29 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    The majority of your post has nothing to do with my question, apparently you're having trouble reading, perhaps because you are in the medical field yourself. The issue is the withdrawal they intentionally put me through that is affecting my life in major ways right now. I have no objection to going into their office nor have I ever. The issue is they did not do their part and put me through a life threatening withdrawal (intentionally) and they knew better.

    Also, do you not understand that going to the ER when you are already in withdrawal is even more frightening than staying home? Every part of your body aches and your mind is constantly racing and you can't sleep and all you want to do is feel better and moving your body is the last thing you want to do. Tell me, if you felt that way would you want to get in the car, drive to the hospital, sit in a waiting room for 6-8 hours under bright lights, and then be poked and prodded for hours only to discover that they probably couldn't do anything until they reached my doctor and who knows when that would be since it was the weekend. Thinking of that alone would drive a person off the deep end since they are already so close to the edge from the med. being stopped.

    You too need to read up on the sudden withdrawal of opiates and what it does to your mind and body. Not to mention it's not exactly something everyone can afford!

    You are wrong about Fentanyl not being able to be called in. You might want to go to the DEA website because it very clearly states that as long as an original is submitted within 4-7 days that they will allow it to be called in for an emergency situation which is what this was.

    There is a very serious problem in this country and if it is the last thing I do on this earth, I will get it done, and that is that there are way too many doctors that are not taking pain seriously even when they have a long term established relationship with their patients. They obviously are not getting the training they need or they just were not meant to be in the field of pain management. I talk with other people taking Fentanyl that go through the same thing--they are always having to be concerned about whether they are going to get their medication because they know that going without it can be fatal.

    When people are already having to deal with such serious and chronic pain, it's unfair and just plain wrong that they should also have to deal with the turmoil of worrying about getting their medication.

    I encourage everyone that is reading this post to educate yourself on what a person goes through when they have chronic pain. It is no fun at all and it is a constant struggle to not allow the pain to control your life. I know that there are people that abuse the system but it isn't that difficult for a doctor to figure out who is legit and who is not.

    Did I put in enough paragraph breaks for you folks? I have never had anyone complain about something so petty before, and to think this is a legal board! Doctors have a legal obligation to "do no harm" and in this case he did do harm and it was intentional. I have an appt. with an attorney next week. I'm sick of pain patients being treating so awful, it's so wrong.

    God bless.
  • 11-01-2007 2:21 PM In reply to

    re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    "Permanent damage WAS done, I can't sleep, I can't eat, and I am constantly concerned about this issue."

    It's only permanent to the extent you don't bother to seek to get treatment/help, and any court is going to expect you to do that. It's called mitigation of damages (never mind common sense).

    "Also, the situation at hand is the withdrawal that he intentional put me through."

    I say you won't be able to prove that.

    Once more, you're free to consult with local med-mal attorneys. If you have a good case, you won't have any trouble finding one to take it.

    "What you failed to understand is that I sent my check, they cashed it, and then did not send my rx like they agreed to do."

    I understood it perfectly. Stuff happens. It's not gross negligence.

    "Addressing this with a specialist? Da, that's what they are suppose to be but as you can see they are extremely disorganized and not in touch with how serious their role in this is."

    Dismissing addressing of the underlying reasons why you're taking fentanyl and your new mental health issues isn't a good idea.

    "I disagree with you that there wasn't intentional infliction of physical and emotional affliction."

    That's okay.

    "You obviously have never had serious pain, to the point where you couldn't move any part of your body, and you obviously know nothing about what a person's body and mind go through when they go into a sudden withdrawal."

    Again, you were free to head to the nearest ER.

    "I think that YOU really need to think twice before posting things like "you need to address your mental health here". That was cruel and unnecessary ...."

    Are you kidding?? I was speaking to the fact that your post says nothing about having sought treatment or focusing on that, but instead choosing to focus on whether you can sue someone vs. fixing the problems.

    Wayy too much info there at the end of your post. Please remember the request to use the "enter" button to create paragraphs.

    I didn't say the doctor couldn't have called in the prescription, by the way.

    "It is not the same as quitting tylenol as your post suggests."

    NOWHERE did I suggest any such thing.

    We're done here.
  • 11-01-2007 2:46 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    You asked for an assessment of whether this was a malpractice situation and that is what you got. Those who volunteer here are not here to diagnose you or hold your hand. Shooting the messenger so to speak because you don't like the response won't get you anywhere on these boards.

    If you feel you have a case by all means find an attorney and head to court. I agree with Fxston that you don't have a case and if you truly wish to address your chronic pain issue then some good mental health counseling IS in order.

    You should be aware that no physician is required by law to keep you as a patient and can release you from care. While you may feel your situation was "life threatening" as long as you were in an outpatient setting, your anxiety attack over not having a pain prescription will not be seen as such by a court. You were free to go to the ER and be evaluated or to seek another physician if you were in that dire of circumstances.

    Now, I am done.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 11-01-2007 7:23 PM In reply to

    re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    While your doctor MIGHT be liable for any temporary unpleasantness until you got your refill she is in no way responsible for your completely unpredictible response. Letting this become an obsession is an indication for psychiatric help, not a lawsuit.
  • 11-01-2007 7:25 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] and you don't understand the law

    Your doctor's office made a mistake. They could hardly be expected to know that the result of that mistake would be an irrational obsession with the possibility you might someday have another problem with a prescritpion. They are not liable for this unforseeable result.
  • 11-02-2007 8:35 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] re: my doctor didn't send me my rx..into serious withdrawal!

    Not everyone who reads these boards disagrees with you. Although you might not have grounds for a lawsuit, it doesn't mean you weren't harmed deliberately by a doctor who's job it is to understand the effects of withholding Fentanyl under the circumstances you describe. Withholding medication deliberately after the mistake was discovered was intentional. Knowing that intentional act would cause harm could be said to be causing intentional harm.

    Knowing it could happen anytime again is not a mental health issue, but a practical one affecting your sense of security. It was insulting that your doctor thought so little of your health and well-being that he chose to display his power in that way.

    You might want to look for another doctor, where of course you could run into the same situation. In any case it would be a good idea to discuss the possibility of this happening again with whichever doctor you see and ask what provisions can be made to assure you that it won't happen again.

    I wish you luck and some resolution.
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