Hostages in the ER

In a reminder that an emergency room can be dangerous place, this story reveals how desperate some patients are to continue their prescription drug abuse:

A man apparently distraught at not being able to see a doctor immediately held two hostages for 20 minutes at Frisbie Memorial Hospital Wednesday. . .

“They were able to get a doctor to respond to the emergency room,” Officer Mike Allen said. “They put a fake prescription in a prescription bottle and were able to negotiate with the suspect to drop the knife in exchange for the fake prescription.”

Prescription drug abuse is an unfortunate situation that is seen on a regular basis. Studies suggest that discussion of substance abuse is a difficult topic for physicians to bring up. Moreover, today’s managed-care 15-minute primary care visit is certainly not conducive for adequate narcotic pain management counseling and monitoring – thus increasing the possibility for abuse. Pain management specialists should certainly be part of the overall treatment team. The recently-released FDA pain management guidelines are a good starting point for appropriate pain management.

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