Recently, a patient threatened to write a bad review if I didn't give him intravenous dilaudid, a strong pain medication.
This actually happens a lot. Not just to me, but to healthcare providers at hospitals and healthcare systems all across our country.
My patient said he couldn't believe it: I'm a doctor, so I should "do no harm," he said. Depriving him of that dilaudid would cause him to be in excruciating pain.
I get bullied more now as a seasoned (over 50) physician than I did as an awkward preteen.
It's frustrating trying to do the right thing. Nothing would make this patient "happy" except IV dilaudid. No amount of explanation, time spent, questions answered. Nothing.
He wanted dilaudid and that's what he was determined to get.
In fact, it was the only reason he went to the hospital. All the tests for his abdominal pain were negative. He was tolerating a regular diet.
And here's the thing: Every other doctor have given him exactly what he wanted. So why was I making his life so difficult?
Because I want to help him escape the revolving door of entering and leaving hospitals. A new hospital every week.
That kind of behavior drains the system, over-utilizes our resources, fuels the opioid epidemic, does plenty of harm, and in some cases kills people.
And I meet patients just like him all day long. They may be highly educated (like this guy was) or homeless — but the issues are similar.
So I have a bunch of terrible reviews.
That patient blasted me on social media, and went to another hospital.
Ironically, he's on my list of new consults to see at one of my other hospitals.
Just another day in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
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