The typical exam began with an EKG to establish his heart rythm along with bloodwork for routine laboratory tests. Armed with a careful review of these results, our competent ER Physician entered the patient's room.
The young patient quickly began asking for pain medication stating that he had an abnormal heart valve which caused tremendous pain. The Physician physically examined the patient and returned to his desk all too familiar with this scenario.
|Too many years in medicine...
I won't mention the type of clothing he was wearing nor the absurd amount of tatoos. I wouldn't want to appear judgemental and sterotype this young man who clearly just needed a little pain management from his reported congenital heart defect. But we knew something he didn't.
You see, most drug seekers think they've got it all planned out. They travel from clinic to clinic, hospital to hospital, acquiring drugs on-the-spot AND a prescription "to go". They complain of a generalized pain that can't be disproved and they drain our healthcare system with unnecessary tests and supplies and thousands of man-hours working up these false healthcare scenarios.
But what we know is exactly where he's been AND what drugs he has been prescribed...including dose strength and quantity. There is a nationwide database accessible by healthcare providers which lists all narcotic drugs. All our Physician had to do was enter the patient's name and date of birth. Up on our screen popped the history of all the places Mr Chestpain had been in the last six months. We also learned that he was not only on Dilaudid but that it was a LARGE dose AND he took it TWICE each day. On top of THAT, he also took Oxycodone DAILY.
|The name says it all. I guess they don't read either.
Some doctors simply don't care. Other doctors don't want to risk being taken to court for failing to address pain control, and believe me...it happens. It happened to the doctor we have on tonight in our ER. Physicians are obligated to offer pain control when a patient requests it. The only buffer they have is how they offer to control the pain.
Our trusty Physician tonight, after reading Mr Chestpain's history, walked back into the patient's room. Mr. Chestpain refused to let me perform a cardiac ultrasound until he received his pain medication. So our Physician asked him how Mr Chestpain would like him to treat the pain when he is already on Dilaudid and Oxycodone? Mr Chestpain's eyes widened. Obviously caught off guard by the fact that our Physician was aware of the scam.
Our Physician explained calmly that there is nothing he could give the patient that was any stronger than what he was already taking...and taking a lot of it... daily. The patient began to curse the doctor. He unhooked his blood pressure cuff, EKG lines, etc and stood up. He declared that he will not be treated in such a manner and that he will simply revisit the hospital down the street because "they gave me pain medicine without any problems".
Unfortunately, Mr Chestpain began to verbally threaten our doctor as he walked out of our ER, including punching him if he wanted to step outside. So, to do his part to help society, our Physician called the police. It is against the law to threaten a healthcare worker. By getting the police involved, he might be able to get this young man off the street and in some counseling.
The police arrived and we all had to fill out statements about what we saw. The police recognized Mr Chestpain's name and said he was a constant annoyance for the PD. Unfortunately we see this all too often in the Emergency Room. You wouldn't believe the stupid stories we hear from some of these people. In fact, I once had a young man bring his elderly grandma to the ER for a similar situation. He had worked out a scam where he could get his demented (documented) grandma some pain meds (and keep them for himself) while he checked himself into the room next to hers for the same thing (pain meds). When he was unsuccessful in getting meds for himself, he threatened to take granny to another facility. Turns out, she had an unfavorable EKG and needed to be admitted. Long story, won't go there but I was shocked at the level to which this young man had stooped for drugs. Poor granny didn't have a clue what was going on.
Between the drug seekers and illegal aliens abusing our medical system, it's a wonder the system has stayed afloat this long. Meanwhile, I pay $300+ per month for health insurance that I've never used. Go figure.
BTW, if you ARE a drug seeker, here's a Best of CraigsList post from an ER Physician spelling out exactly how you can obtain your drugs without pissing off the entire ER staff. Some vulgar language but VERY funny (and true).