Editor’s Note: At the National Pain Report we receive emails from people asking questions, pitching stories and opining on the issues of the day. But when I read the following this week from a chronic pain patient and National Pain Report reader in North Carolina, I thought better you the readers—who have much more experience than I—answer the question. So please read this and tell the person in our commentary section what you recommend. I omitted the reader’s name.
Hi, I am looking for some information that I think I may only be able to find at the National Pain Report. I have followed the NPR for years, and I am hopeful someone has some insight into a bizarre set of supposed facts that I have found myself in, that is the difference between life or death for me.
I must write to my PCP every month and request that she send over my opiates and Gabapentin rx’s to their pharmacy, which is the norm there. It always works fine; in that she is a 100% responsive and sends them over in less than 24 hours. At that time, I can then call in my other 9 rx’s and pick it all up the next day.
However, when I sent in my request this month, the response was somewhat delayed but ok, and the note back to me was from a different doctor there. She said that she could not send any refills for me for my pain medication, because I had a signed pain contract.
Their pain contract, that all pain patients there must sign, says that we will only get our medications from our doctor, basically.
My doctor is in Germany on vacation for two weeks apparently. This other doctor told me that there is no one there who can write my prescriptions, only my doctor can and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.
That doctor called me on the phone when she received my response back. I explained that I am facing the biggest day of my life in a few weeks, that I am having Major, rather tricky surgery that I have a 50% survival chance, and my plan was to spend this time decompressing and de-stressing in order to give myself the very best chance, and that if I am pulled off of my pain medication, that is so insufficient as it is, I won’t be able to have my surgery, that without it I am dead in the water.
I explained to her my medicine allowed me to do such things as use the bathroom, basic things, that without the ability to do what I do, I really am at a total loss.
So to wrap this up, can a doctor’s office really do this? I thought that as a patient and a Medicare patient I had certain rights that protect me. That if your doctor hands over her patients to another one while she’s out, that ALL would convey to the doctor filling in.
Do you have any knowledge on such a situation? I live in North Carolina and I go to a clinic that is part of Duke University Medical Center called Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham. And I don’t know what to do next.