Posts 2018-09-01


Some patients really roll up in here acting like this is an Applebee’s…. Ok, treating pain is a big ol, complicated topic, especially for those of us who are getting our training during the opioid crisis. I follow a lot of artists, and many of them speak to how doctors ignore, belittle and under or even over-Medicate their pain, especially if they are women and minorities. Doctors miss diagnoses all the time, and blow off patient complaints. I am terrified of one day doing that. This comic isn’t about that.

This is about that patient that your team labels as “drug-seeking” because they are. The one who lives at the edge of your sympathy bc you know their lives are hard but they also know that they’re harassing your nurses, setting ultimatums, being disrespectful and making your job even more difficult than it already is. This is the one who you do thousands of dollars of increasingly out there tests to find a source for the pain- because they’ve been worked up for everything under the sun already, often at different institutions- and who become belligerent when you inform them that they came out squeaky clean. Thing is, those patients are sick too. In a lot of ways, opioid addiction is an iatrogenic disease, and there are myriad social issues that are tied up in it too. But a lot of these issues are not what we’ve been trained to deal with, and the hospital isn’t really equipped to best serve these patients. And so instead we end up admitting people for lengthy but likely unnecessary workups and being, well, fairly grumpy for their (usually lengthy) stay.

How do you handle your interactions with patients who have opioid addiction?

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This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.