68-year old Judie Bruno his filed a complaint under the Americans with Disability Act regarding discrimination against those who are being refused pain medication they need for their quality of life.
And she thinks other chronic pain sufferers should follow suit. (Here’s the complaint form)
Bruno, who the National Pain Report featured in October, is an Army veteran amputee who fought and won the VA over her use of medical marijuana to combat her pain. A pharmacist at the Loma Linda VA decided to stop filling Bruno’s morphine prescription (that had been unchanged in 14 years) because she uses marijuana. Bruno, who understands how to navigate the federal health care system, fought back and the VA relented.
“This is discrimination, plain and simple,” Bruno told the National Pain Report.
She made the case in an email to the National Pain Report, which she has given us the permission to share with our readers:
“They are now turning those who would abuse Narcotic Medication and can’t receive them to harder drugs like heroin and turning Veterans and others to use Medical Marijuana which is good for some illnesses and pain but you can’t function being stoned on pot all day long. We need hundreds, thousands of complaints.
Chronic Pain is a real disability. For those Americans who are suffering such a disability, Veterans and civilians alike, many are not being prescribed the pain medications they need or are having those medications refused that they have been on for years to have the best quality of life they can all because of those who would, no matter what, abuse narcotic medications. This is discrimination and is against the laws and rules under the American with Disabilities Act.
There is no doubt at all regarding my need for pain medications, in all in my medical records. No one has denied this need. I deal with three different types of pain and each needs the medications formulated to deal with each and my medical records prove that I have never abused any of the pain medications I have been prescribed over the last 40 some years, over two thirds of my life. I always have extra pills and only take them when I need and yet I and many others are all being treated as if we are “drug addicts” because we dare request the medications we need and have to beg for the care we deserve.
On Sept 16, 2015 a pharmacist at the Loma Linda, CA, VA Medical Center, made the decision to just not give me the morphine I have been prescribed for over 14 years, with no warning, no concern at all for the possible shock my body and system would go through by just stopping this medication, nothing to help with the withdrawals I would have to deal with or anything to help with the chronic pain I have every day of my life. This pharmacist didn’t know I had enough morphine to last over a month, more proof that I never abuse these medications. He clearly didn’t care what this action would do to me. I know the reason that this pharmacist took this step was because I do use medical marijuana at night, the doctor remarked about it and that is why I’m able to get by on most days with only three of the four to five pills I am prescribed. That was how I was able over all these years to keep my morphine intake as low as possible.
I went in front of a “Pain Management Board” and proved not only the need for these medications but that I have never abused any medications prescribed and even amputated my leg in 1995 to get off of the high levels the VA had me on. I also removed myself from a Fentanyl Patch because it was more than I needed. The Pain Board returned the medications to me and with that and the new drug I had requested; I had one of the best months in a very long time.
I have requested through a complaint through the Patient Advocate Office at this VA Center the name of the pharmacist who refused to send me the pain medication I need but so far I haven’t been able to learn who he is but I’m sure it’s in my medical records and have requested a copy. I wish to bring discrimination and malpractice charges against this individual for refusing to prescribe to me the pain medications I need and have been prescribed by my doctors who’s care I rely upon and the same charges against the VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA and the doctor and pharmacist now in control over the pain medications I need.
Even after proving my need for pain medications and the fact that I never abuse any medications two doctors at the VA are now removing me from the Xanax my GI doctor knows I need for my symptoms and he does not agree with this removal. My quality of life has been very affected by not having this medication all because I use Medical Marijuana legal in my state.
Please help all Americans who are suffering from chronic pain and can’t receive the medications needed for their quality of life. This is truly discrimination against those who suffer from chronic pain and we depend on the ADA to protect us from such treatment.
“No Veteran, no American should suffer one more day in pain that is necessary and this is “NOT” necessary.”