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Im Desperate for Help.All Pain Management Doctors Left Medical Office Overnight

Dg2407DDg2407 Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Pain Medications
Hello.I just found out that my Pain Management Doctor left the medical Office overnight.And 3 other PM Dr's followed him.There is one remaining Dr left but here's the big problem.

Nobody called me to tell me i no longer had a Dr i found out when i called them for my prescriptions.And it turns the one Doctor remaining does not take the same medical insurance "my insurance" as my Doctor.SO i was told he will not write me prescriptions.And i need pain medication plus ive been taking it for about 4 years now.Is it even legal to leave patients like this with no medication? The woman on the phone said she is telling me what she is telling all of the 4 PM Dr Patients....sorry,we cant help you.I have Chronic CHRONIC pain and i cant do this anymore I'm terrified.Anyone have any information? I cant even go to a family Dr to help because she i quote "Doesn't Believe" in pain medicine.Im tired of apologizing for being in pain.I'm sorry i need Narcotic Pain Killers,BELIEVE ME i don't want them anymore then they want to prescribe them.But nothing else works and i have had everything including emergency surgery.

Please tell is this legal? Any help with ummm ideas of who to call.My friend said call the State Rep for help because she doesn't think its legal.But i wouldn't know who to call or what to say.I desperate please if you can,help me.


  • You could call your state's medical society -- they have slightly different names state by state, but it is the state equivalent of the AMA. Describe to them what has happened and ask if they have any suggestions for you. Otherwise, I would call the pharmacist where you fill your prescriptions. Tell him/her what has happened, tell them you don't know how to go about getting your prescriptions written by a new doctor and ask if there is someone they could recommend.

    I can't imagine what happened that the doctors would all just pack up and go. I've never heard of that. But with all the changes that are going on in medical practices these days, not too much surprises me any more.

    I hope others have some ideas for you, and I wish you luck.
  • What is your diagnosis? Can you get an orthopedic surgeon to manage your pain?

    Make an appointment to see your GP and tell her that you fear it is dangerous to go "cold turkey" off of these meds, because it is. See if she will at least help you taper off of them.

    No, I do not believe it is at all illegal for a doctor to leave without notifying patients. Unethical? Maybe. But doctors up and leave practices and areas all the time, and if they are big fat jerks they don't warn their patients.

    Anyone else have any ideas?

    I'd also like to suggest you try some other methods while you're looking. Find a therapist who works with pain patients (I have a therapist who uses guided imagery and am finding some relief from the psychic pain that goes along with fearing pain, if that makes sense). Maybe ask your doctor to send you to physical therapy. Good luck!
  • What a pain in the butt you have. Makes my messes seem manageable.

    You could try calling your insurance company and ask them if they have a new address for the doctor. Play dumb. Unfortunately it usually takes a month for the doctors to get their licenses moved to a new address. I found this out with my orthopedists a few years back. In NY the license has to match the address so when they move it's a nightmare. ANd if they truly left suddenly then it may take longer.

    I'm sure they did sign an agreement with the office not to give patients their new address but the office needs to be responsible for patient care. I would call back and ask for the office manager or one of the "partner" doctors. Make it clear that you hold them responsible for continuing your care in their office or putting them in touch with your doctor. You state medical society or state government is a good threat at this point.

    On the other side I really would have doubts about a PM doc who would just walk out and leave their patients like that. You might want to call your insurance to find out who else is in your area. The insurance company may even have a department that handles this type of problem.

    I've had to deal with this type of problem and these are some of the things I have tried. Hope it helps.
  • Kris brings up some great points! Piggy back to that, I am guessing that the reason the departing doctors "aren't to give their new addresses to their patients" is that way they don't lose their patients from that facility?

    Using that mindset, you might want to contact them again, and state that to them. "If I can't find my PM doctor because of your clause, then *who* is now in charge of my pain management? IF you can't give me that support and satisfy my needs, I will find another facility that will help me!" Or something to that effect?!? Just thinking logically as to why they would have that stipulation on physicians leaving... Just my 2 cents. I hope you find a doctor to help you.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yes, call your insurance company and tell them what happened and ask what you can do.

    There is no amount of pain that the human body can't take. In fact, we're having a discussion about this very subject right now. This is why I suggested a therapist to help while you are going through this, because such severe pain is both mental and physical.

    This does not, of course, mean I don't think you should continue seeking medical relief :)

  • I am in the UK, so I don't really understand your system, but could you go to ER for help?

    That may not be much help, but I want you to know that I am really feeling for you, and wish I could give you some advice that would make a difference.

  • That is what I mean when I say that when it gets to a certain point, pain is of the body and the mind. You have to realize we're all living this with you, we've all been there. We're speaking from experience.

    So I have a therapist and I take medication as well, and I can say they both do help me with pain, because it affects me in both places.

    Did you call your insurance company yet? Did they say anything? Can they help you, maybe get you a temporary waiver to use one of the other doctors if they have no coverage in your area?
  • Who did your surgery? You mentioned your PM doc and your regular Physician but not your surgeon. Are you in the process of trying to fix the herniations etc...it seems like they would not want to leave your spinal cord in the state of being crushed(Just my opinion).

    I would get on the horn with you insurance company and make them give you a list of Pain Management Clinics I would even to try to branch out and maybe travel a ways to find someone. At least maybe just travel temporarily. You are definately going to need to be firm with people but try not to sound out of control or desparate even though I know you must be. You probably want to explode I quite honestly wouldn't be able to function without my meds.

    In the meantime if you need meds go to your local ER or Urgent care clinic. Explain to them what is going on and what you are trying to do. You maybe even should take in a list of doctors you have tried to contact. Look very organized and let me know you are doing lots of leg work to get this resolved. Explain that you are doing your best to find someone, if they only prescribe for a few days tell them that is fine but that you will be back if you cannot find somewhere to go. Since it envolves narcotics your going to need to be very upfront and try not to travel to a bunch of different places so you don't look like a seeker. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who abuse meds so doctors do get a little jaded.... There has to be a sympathetic person out there. If would'nt be hard for them to get your records and see your history and what you have been through.

    When you called the medical board did she say if they were possibly under investigation for something? I just find it so strange that they took off like that.... Hang in there I know your frustrated but keep trying!!
  • DG from what you say the remaining doc is probably the reason the other left so fast. I bet they learned that he was up to more illegal stuff and opted to run. It should be interesting to see what they do now. I'd bet that they leave town so they are not associated with him in any way.

    What size town or area are you in? Any chance of going to the next town or so to find a new neurologist/pm? I think you said it's been a few years since your surgery. Maybe it's time for a complete re-eval to see if they can do something more to help.

    I would bet that a new neurologist would be willing to work with you on the meds until he can sort out your issues. I would go to your pharmacy and ask for a printout of your prescriptions for the past year. THis will show your new doc what you have been taking. Getting your past records will probably take some time since I'm sure that office is a disaster right now.

    Good Luck and don't wait to long to find a new doc. Remember all the other patients will be doing the same thing.
  • I am not saying you are having back pain because of your emotions. I am saying you are having emotional pain because of your back. Two very different things.

    But let's get off of that subject for now, and back to what you need to get treatment. What did your insurance company say about giving you a temporary waiver to go with one of the other doctors since there is now nobody covered locally?

    Or could you go further away? I ended up going a bit out of my area for pain care to find a doctor I really like. It's a bit of a pain, but he's really great.

  • I agree that it while it may not be illegal for your doctors to have left, it certainly sounds unethical. It also sounds to me like the receptionist/office staff is just trying to stay above water and, unlike the insensitive doctors, not abandon ship, but their hands are tied. Her comment about about "go ahead and sue them" lol, was probably said out of total frustration. The staff was probably just as surprised as the patients at the leaving of the doctors because those things tend to kind of happen behind closed doors, after hours, kind of hush-hush.

    If this is not the first time this has happened in this facility, get the heck out! INSIST in whatever fashion you must that you be transfered to another PM doctor/facility. They have proven themselves incompetent on several different levels according to what you have stated while you have met the requirements asked of you.

    Do you have medications left? and for how long? The ER would be your best option until you can find another PM. Your surgeon should be your next choice. I know you've stated that all of these doctors said that they would not give you meds, but circumstances have changed. You are not drug seeking or looking for a quick fix. If for no other reason than to safely wean yourself safely off until you can find yourself another PM doctor, you need to do this before you are left with either no medication or no pain.

    I know that I got to a point years ago after my first surgery where I thought I was well and good and decided to go off of my narcs (safely), and still went through a short time of what I'll call some rebound pain. I think it was just my body adjusting to the fact that this medicine was no longer present, but it happened nonetheless.

    Emotionally speaking, if you go cold turkey, you are going to be a total wreck. You seem to be having a really difficult time, and I certainly do not blame you, I would be freaking out if I were in you situation. But if you stop these meds abruptly, it will be a lot worse, and you certainly don't need that with everything else you have going on.

    Go to the ER. Call the surgeon. Call the insurance company-repeatedly. I promise you, they will either get tired of hearing from you or you'll find that one competent person to help you out of this situation.

    I am truly sorry you are going through this. It breaks my heart to hear your story, it really does. As I read this I have tears in my eyes because I remember having to go through hoops at one particular time and it seemed like a never ending process. We are all here for you. If there is anything that I can do for you besides talking to you here and praying for you, please do not hesitate to ask. I'm really good at writing letters, I'd be happy to blast off a few to you local and state reps and government healthcare officials :D
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    but what I dont understand is that if you were low on your pain medications, why did you wait until the last minute?

    I have to give my doctors at least 7 days advanced warning when I need a prescription refilled. This has become almost an area wide policy with most doctors.

    Your other option as was mentioned would be to go to the ER. They may or may not be able to help you. It all depends on what the ER doctors find out after examining you. Sometimes, they will just call your doctor, sometimes they will admit you and provide medications and there are times when they will not be able to help you.

    I have no answers in terms of what to do without your pain medications, except using the OTC pain relievers, ice or heat and try to relax.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you everyone for trying to help with all your ideas and information and well wishes.And thank you so much Stacy that was very very sweet and genuinely so much appreciated :)
  • I agree with Stacey and Ron that you waited to long, and your consequence is very steep.

    Many of us who are older have realized that we need to be very smart about this and be our own advocate in a very logical way, and be very careful about the doctors we see. I've dumped 2 pain doctors in 2 years because they just weren't for me- not because of the amount of meds they gave me, but more about the ease of reaching them, bedside manner, ease of getting procedures, etc.

    Now I drive out of the area for one I really like. Totally worth it. I can get in on a few days notice, I don't jump through hoops for meds or procedures, I am greeted by smiles and friendly voices- it's all good. My PCP would like me to transfer into her network, which is through the highest regarded hospital in the area, but I'm not budging.

    And now I need to go see my psychiatrist, who manages half of my meds, because I like specialists in each medication I take. I have a lot of doctors :)

    The consequences of bad doctors are horrifying. I'll spare you my sob stories ;)
  • I don't blame you for not coming into network just to please you PCP.

    I did that to please my wife who did not want to travel to Pittsburgh from here, 2.5 hr drive on a "good" traffic day. I came back to a PM I don't like. I only ever see his P.A. who is a jerk, etc, Since I let them put the SCS in, no one else is interested in taking me on as a patient!

    My saving grace as you have discovered is my Shrink.
    I don't take any narcotics, have been diagnosed last year as Bi-polar Type II and not the general depression that I have been treated for over the last 15 years! With a switch to the right meds for that I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes... anyway, if not for my shrink, I honestly do not know if I would still be here typing this. My shrink writes ALL my meds, My PM's PA checks my SCS every six months and occasionally comments on my meds, but never offers any real advice.

    My point is that as HHBmom says, get doctors you feel comfortable with and stick with them. Do your best to not allow yourself to be leveraged into being treated by someone you do not like or are not comfortable with.

    For crying out loud, if you are out of meds and these guys left you in the lurch, GO get your records and go to the ER! They should get you over the hump while you search out new doctors! I hope!
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