Pain management and addiction

Finding that balance is difficult:

It was Sunday morning on my weekend off and I was stalked by a narcotic seeker. She conned the hospital operator twice into paging me to get around my partner who was on-call. Then she made eight phone calls to my home throughout the day. Thanks to caller ID, I was able to avoid them.

Multiple calls to my house outside of office hours for pain meds is a red flag for a patient with a drug problem. So is using extraordinary measures to work around my on-call partner. I’ve seen both of these warning signs before.

Doctors are often accused of not adequately treating pain and being insensitive to patients’ needs. But they also have found themselves prosecuted or disciplined by licensing boards for prescribing too much pain medication. Trying to find a balance can be tricky.

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