Chronic Pain Wrap-Up – A Fighting Marine – A Canadian Surprise and a New Voice for Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Wrap-Up - A Fighting Marine - A Canadian Surprise and a New Voice for Chronic Pain

By Ed Coghlan.

It’s been an interesting week for chronic pain.

A combative ex-Marine from Tennessee who has been fighting his VA and his local (and influential Congressman) earned a victory in court this week.

Robert Rose’s lawsuit against VA and Congressman Phil Roe and members of the Veterans Committee is being allowed to move forward in the courts.

Read how Robert described the decision in a piece he published on Medium (which includes the court order).

We’ve been following the discussion on chronic pain treatment in British Columbia. This week the provincial health agency decided that the reduction in opioid prescribing was starting to hurt pain patients. As a result, British Columbia doctors treating patients with chronic pain will be required to prescribe opioids without limiting dosage or refusing to see patients who are on the medication that has come to be associated with illicit overdose deaths. The standard was revised after widespread consultation of doctors in the province and patient advocacy groups that had complained people were being denied care or abandoned because they were on opioids.

Read more

The National Pain Report published an interesting commentary from Dr. Debbie Nickels Heck of Muncie, Indiana. She’s a chronic pain sufferer herself (in addition to being a wife, mother of three, grandmother of seven). We received quite a bit of positive commentary on Dr. Nickels Heck’s views.

(Read the Dr. Nickels Heck story)

Former NPR columnist Joy Selak reached out to say how much she enjoyed the story: “The article today by Dr. Heck is an especially fresh and informed voice and I love it that you prefaced with how you met and that you chose not to edit her.”

Reader Kathleen Kaiser also liked the comments: “Wow I really like this woman. She sounds like a wonderful doctor whose hands are being tied unfairly as both the patient and the doctor.”

We hope to hear from the doctor more in the future.

One final reminder about the survey we’ve been promoting in advance of the Public Meeting for Patient-Focused Drug Development on Chronic Pain that the FDA is holding on July 9. Terri Lewis Ph.D. is conducting the survey—which she will close on Sunday June 17 so that she can tabulate in advance the July 9th meeting. FDA is challenged with determining how to balance the need to ensure continued access to persons who rely on opioids for continuous pain relief while addressing the ongoing concerns about safe use, abuse and misuse.  Determining where to place the focus on alternatives and new drug development is the focus of the meeting.

If you want to fill out the survey—which thus far has attracted over 1400 respondents representing all fifty state, you can do so here.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Tim Guidry

I want to say my pain doctor is leaving and going to be a general practitioner in another state, my only avenue is another surgery. But just want to bring this up, our Attorney General is quoting the bible on immigration, what he should brush up on is Genesis where God gave us herbs yielding seed which includes poppy and cannabis seeds which in my opinion gave medicine. Go figure they were put here for us to use for medicinal purposes 2000 years ago.


I wish to file lawsuits against my former Pain Doctor, He kept me in a state of withdraw till I almost died . I lost 43 lbs oe 1/4 of my weight . I got so weak , I caught everything and nearly died and he dismissed me. I have filed suits before but I could use some advice if there are any Attorneys out there.
Do they bring it before the Board unless it is a certain amount or limit?
Just little things that will help. I don’t have any money, but I have time and I can get a filing fee waiver. I have to file before August ,, to be within 1 yaer statute of limitatons.

Paul Bartolini

I am sick of the way I’m being treated because I suffer with chronic pain. I can’t get a doctor in Oregon to take care of me. This is cruel and unusual punishment for being in chronic pain when there are remedies that I have taken(oxycodone) that help me live a normal life.

Maureen M.

Hi Ed, Thank you for your updates.
I’m thrilled to hear about Robert Rose’s progress! I’ve had him in my prayers for a long time.
Coincidently, I recently came across an article and a video from Magnolia Chiropractics office in Murphreesboro, Tenn. and their address is on Robert Rose Drive!! It has to be our Robert Rose, right?! 🙂
I’m also thrilled to read your news on British Columbia! We can only hope that the USA will follow their lead!
With Gratitude for all that you do for us, Maureen M.

William Dorn

Will the British Columba changes be brought up at the meeting July 9.

Joanna Pinne

The revisions to British Columbia’s opioid prescribing Standard have yet to play out. Many of us in Canada are waiting to see if these revisions will actually result in better pain care. We are not exactly holding our breath as the medical agency in question continues to aggressively pursue doctors who prescribe opioids and their past behavior has been profoundly deleterious to pain patients. This agency has yet to act on behalf of a patient who has been abandoned or subjected to unsuccessful tapers. Many of us feel that these ‘revisions’ are simply window dressing, and that physicians will not be comforted or freed from the BC agency’s unrestrained oppression of doctors.

Becky Riley

I read the article on Medium about what was done to this proud Marine whom has served his country faithfully and how we as a country have treated him in return. It is horrible! I applaud him for taking on Washington and the Veterans Administration. He has had to procure private insurance in order to receive pain meds because an order has been handed down from government which says 90% of all pain patients must be have their pain meds reduced to 0. Doesn’t matter why you are taking pain meds even cancer patients. I am glad to see someone has the guts to do this. This treatment by the VA is inhumane also violates the Hippocratic oath doctors are required to take, “Do no Harm!
They made this man a ticking time bomb with his blood pressure so high because of the unrelating pain he experiences each day. Perhaps that’s their intention, to hope he passes away so this case will go away. I am truly appalled by how this veteran has been treated.


So on the Link to the Surveyor- I should NOT Answer the survey questions unless I have downloaded first, those two apps?

Even though all the survey questions are there?

The reason I ask is because my Phone won’t let me download either one.

I’m confused on how to proceed.

Thank you.


So, if I’m understanding correctly, Robert Rose’s case won’t just address those impacted by the VA’s actions but may also have a wider implication for the entire pain patient community impacted by the CDC Guidelines? I pray this is so. Nevertheless, our Vets deserve proper care and it’s a shame they have to fight here at home.


What do we do to get the same voice