Skip to comments.When Is a Pain Doctor a Drug Pusher?
Posted on 06/20/2007 5:40:59 PM PDT by neverdem
Ronald McIver is a prisoner in a medium-security federal compound in Butner, N.C. He is 63 years old, of medium height and overweight, with a white Santa Claus beard, white hair and a calm, direct and intelligent manner. He is serving 30 years for drug trafficking, and so will likely live there the rest of his life. McIver (pronounced mi-KEE-ver) has not been convicted of drug trafficking in the classic sense. He is a doctor who for years treated patients suffering from chronic pain. At the Pain Therapy Center, his small storefront office not far from Main Street in Greenwood, S.C., he cracked backs, gave trigger-point injections and put patients through physical therapy. He administered ultrasound and gravity-inversion therapy and devised exercise regimens. And he wrote prescriptions for high doses of opioid drugs like OxyContin.
McIver was a particularly aggressive pain doctor. Pain can be measured only by how patients say they feel: on a scale from 0 to 10, a report of 0 signifies the absence of pain; 10 is unbearable pain. Many pain doctors will try to reduce a patients pain to the level of 5. McIver tried for a 2. He prescribed more, and sooner, than most doctors.
Some of his patients sold their pills. Some abused them. One man, Larry Shealy, died with high doses of opioids that McIver had prescribed him in his bloodstream. In April 2005, McIver was convicted in federal court of one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and eight counts of distribution. (He was also acquitted of six counts of distribution.) The jury also found that Shealy was killed by the drugs McIver prescribed. McIver is serving concurrent sentences of 20 years for distribution and 30 years for dispensing drugs that resulted in Shealys death. His appeals to the...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
My friend in Canada has a mother who is addicted to oxycontin related drugs. She had lung cancer but has been cancer free for 5 years now but the doc still prescribes the pain meds.
My doctor would not proscribe me pain meds even when I introduced him to my (now) ex.
If somebody has chronic pain, who cares if they are addicted to whatever makes their life bearable? So what?
I don’t see any reason for this guy to be in prison for 30 years.
Technically, when he obtains his license. Or, don’t doctors make their living selling drugs?
Her pain is affected by many things, including the weather, yet they will give her a fixed number of pills. Period. If she has a bad spell, she goes to bed, rather than take an extra pill, because then she will not have enough to last the month. She is not on oxycontin, but something milder. Yet they won’t give her an extra day or two of her prescription, because it looks bad.
So, what is better. To be not addicted to pain pills, and suffer unbearable pain and have no life because you are in bed, or to be addicted to pills and be able to function and live a life.
Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. I am not concerned that I may become addicted to my nerve pain medications. I would be deprived of a full active life without it. Life is full of choices, we attempt to make the right
Oddly enough, my friend’s mother’s pain seems to get worse as she nears the end of a bottle of oxy.
Gotta figure, it’s Canada so the government is paying the bills and it’s easier for the doc to leave her addicted than to try to struggle through withdrawls that will result in a longer life if she breaks the addiction.
This situation is crazy. We have people in America with chronic pain AND terminal illnesses who can’t get relief — or at least not a sufficient amount of relief to make what’s left of their life barable.
Yet, doctors are afraid to prescribe sufficient painkillers to do the job because they are afraid of ending up like this guy.
Color me stupid, but if a person is dying anyhow, it seems to me the last thing the doctor should be worried about is whether or not the patient is going to get addicted to the meds.
“....serving 30 years for drug trafficking,”
A conviction like this beats the snot out of having to deal with some Mexican border hopping dealer with a fast trigger finger..... (and I REALLY don’t mean to hijack this into an immigration thread....but IMHO is pretty darn near the truth here...)
You are exactly right, and it's an outrage. I am a chronic pain patient. I get meds, and one time my doctor told me what the DEA does, and how even honest doctors treating real patients can get into trouble just for doing their jobs. Every month the DEA pulls many random DEA numbers of physicians, and then go through the physician's office like the IRS would go through a cooperations books for an audit. He said they just assume any patient getting pain meds is a criminal, until proven otherwise, and they look upon the doctor with suspicion for prescribing such medicines. The doctor told me that he, or even I could go to jail if his records were anything less than perfect. I'm sure many people are suffering right now because their doctors are simply unwilling to put up with all of that...
I’ve felt for a while that prosecutors and drug agents should be charged with conspiracy to commit murder if their actions cause pain patients to later die due to insufficient treatment. I can only hope that some of them, sooner or later in life, suffer chronic pain themselves, and find themselves hanged by their own belts, so to speak, when their own efforts to seek relief are blocked.
Like so many other perjorative statements, this is completely incorrect, and in general, pretty ignorant. Doctors DO know how to treat pain. I am a board certified anesthesiologist, and believe me, I treat pain very, very well. There are two competing problems here, one is societal and one is patient oriented -- first things first...
As usual, society COMPLETELY uses the wrong word with all its miserable connotations do define a problem. People with chronic pain do not become ADDICTED to pain meds, the become tolerant of them. When properly administered, pain meds, specifically narcotic reduce the amount of pain felt. Over time it take more and more of the drug to achieve the same pain relief. This is TOLERANCE to the drug. As the patient becomes more tolerant, the dangerous effects of the drug are also better tolerated.
The prime concern with pain medications is a DANGEROUS decrease in respiration -- namely the patient stops breathing. In someone who is not exposed to pain meds on a regular basis, a high dose can be fatal. The same dose in a patient with chronic pain on pain meds for several years may not even provide a little relief.
Thus, as more drug is required, a patient is not ADDICTED. Addiction is when the drug is used improperly, typically for its "feel good" effects. (In other words, used to get stoned, not to relieve pain). If a patient has a medical reason to hurt, and is treated appropriately and takes the drug appropriately, they cannot become addicted. This brings us to the patient problem.
The vast majority of patients who illegally seek drugs are just that -- drug seekers. Instead of buying their fix on the corner, they try to fake their way through the medical establishment. I used to work in emergency rooms to make ends meet, and I would say 80% of patients who came in demanded a pain medicine of their choice, and often with the most ludicrous excuses -- they lost their perscription, they flushed their pills on accident, yada, yada, yada...One evening, I worked a case in an ER with an obvious drug seeker (story did not check out) and the next night worked in a different ER 150 miles away. Sure enough, same couple came in with the same complaints trying to get drugs.
THe bottom line is this -- doctors are forever in the bind that they addict patients, and have the DEA looking over their shoulder ever willing to come down on a doc who is legitimately treating pain.
For those in chronic pain, my suggestion: see a board certified pain specialist. The American Board of Anesthesiology certifies experts in the field of pain management. There are physicians who have gone through the 4 years of anesthesia residency and then have an additional year in pain training. These tireless physicians dedicate their lives each day to their field, and do a superb job of helping all who hurt.
But please do not use words that are incorrect, and I hope all who read this now understand the difference between addiction and tolerance. As usual, the MSM cannot accurately report on anything.
Thanks for listening to this rant...
Meanwhile, murderers, rapists, armed robbers and other real criminals are let out of prison early to make room for these people.
I think you replied to the wrong person.
I am retiring to this little community soon.I never would have guessed such an event occurred there.I have no answer for this situation but as the population ages we must find solutions for these questions.
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