Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck’s hospital horror story is getting some attention. Apparently, he had a surgical procedure with marked post-op pain. As physicians tried to control his pain with increasing doses of narcotics, he suffered adverse reactions as a result.

A couple of thoughts:

Fentanyl is not just an “end-of-life drug”. It is simply another form of narcotic, and its use in the post-op setting is not unreasonable.

However, morphine, fentanyl, Toradol, Percocet every two hours and a morphine pump does seem like an extravagant amount of narcotics.

“I went back to the hospital and before we left the house, the doctors said, you call me and we will call in advance to make sure they’re all ready for you.”

The biggest myth out there. No physician can call ahead and “get the ER ready for you”. Patients will be individually triaged based on their medical acuity.

“I read the directions on the box that they stop your breathing. They can kill you. They’re as serious as you can possibly get. I’m still in agonizing pain. I’m still taking percocet on top of it.”

Yes, narcotic pain medications have serious side effects. But Mr. Beck was still in agonizing pain. This simply highlights the delicate balance that physicians face when managing pain and narcotic side effects. You can’t have it both ways.

My wife is holding me up and she says, my husband’s doctor called, they’re expecting him, he needs to have a catheter put in and he needs pain medication right away; he needs to be admitted.

The decision to be admitted is made by the ER physician or the patient’s personal physician. Patients cannot “demand” to be admitted.

Absent from Mr. Beck’s story is what the status of the ER was at the time. Was there someone coding? Were there multiple traumas? How many patients were present with more medically acute problems?

It is easy to point fingers, but without this accompanying context, it is important to realize that we’re only reading one side of the story.

(via a reader tip)

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