Practicing Humane Medicine

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

It’s Friday and it feels like summer—amazing weather for November. I hope you have some relaxing plans for the weekend. Harry and I are going to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow to pick up some fresh vegetables, honey and fruit. This week was difficult for Harry who has chronic pain from arthritis. Over the years, he’s had knee replacements, back surgery and shoulder rotator cuff surgery, and it has left him with chronic pain. He had an acute episode on Monday when he sneezed, and something went out in his shoulders. He was in excruciating pain with no pain medication to take. He called his rheumatoid doctor who refused to give it to him because he said he was afraid Harry might fall—he didn’t want to take a chance or get involved or have a record of prescribing medication that would put him under the spot light.

After several rejections, I called a doctor that I had worked with in the emergency room, and he agreed to write the prescription knowing it would not be abused saying, “of course, it’s the humane thing.” As a nurse, I know there is an opioid crisis, and doctors have been over prescribing, but there should be recognition of elderly patients who need relief with compassionate treatment for those who suffer—a happy medium.

In the old days, doctors and surgeons did not let their patients suffer—“give them whatever they need” was often the mantra—with alleviating pain as their primary goal. Times have changed with the current opioid issue, but let’s not forget the people who are not abusing it or addicted to it and need relief but can’t get it. Why should they suffer, and is that practicing good medicine?

Take good care of yourselves,