By Ed Coghlan.
When our interview with Dr. Terri Lewis was published last week, it caused a swift and yet varied reaction from many of our readers.
Dr. Lewis, who has been a consistently clear and strong voice for the chronic pain patient and who has argued vociferously against the crackdown on opioid prescriptions, called on the chronic pain community to work harder to make change.
“This is hard work. Get on the train or get out of the way,” she told the National Pain Report. “Get involved or accept the results without complaint. I am perfectly willing to tell folks exactly what none of us want to hear. The world is changing and we have to change with it.”
“We have the tools to do this. Engaged patients can make a difference. Those who think it is too hard or who refuse to get involved will get left behind the door in their communities – and their communities will function more poorly for it. It is as simple as that.”
Dr. Lewis also believes the chronic pain community—both patients and providers—are ready to act.
“I expect to see practitioners and consumers come together in the same space to build on the demand for a system of care that is accessible, helps, and reduces harms,” she said.
The interview set off a reaction that ranged from supportive of her call for activism to critical of her for asking people to do more.
Said April Dawn, “If I am not even able to get out of bed, or barely able to eat and go to the bathroom. It is completely unrealistic to expect someone like me to get out there and fight for anything. It was a strangely unfeeling statement that showed an extreme lack of awareness of the reality of my everyday life – and those like me.”
For critics like April Dawn there was an equal number of supporters like Andrea Anderson who wrote,
“Terri, You are fabulous! What a well-written, important letter to us all. We have spent way too much time dealing with people both within our own population and from outside, and we’ve been playing defense the whole time. It’s time for us to take a those who beleaguer us from outside. We all need to take bigger role in obtaining and maintaining legitimate treatment options. You have our support, both individually and through ATIP, and I hope we can work together more closely as the new year begins. You have an important platform and you are using it tirelessly. I hope we can support you more and find more outlets for your very important voice. Thank you for all you do.”
To read the story and the commentary click here.