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CarrieMarie 03-13-2014 03:43 PM

HELP! Family Doctor FIRED Me Today! Over PM
My family dr of the past 3 years sent me a nasty letter today letting me know that he would no longer be treating me.

In February my family dr sent me to what they thought was a Pain Consultant with none of my records just a referral;which in turn I find is not a PM Dr as they had wanted but an interventionist. The doctor there had nothing nice to say about our family doctor prescribing narcotics over the past few years with little to no evidence (in his own opinion) of my chronic pain (neck injury/exrays/ortho confirmed bone spurs in cervical spine). He agreed to continue medications 2 weeks at a time stressing that I need to get off norco due to addiction. He also stated he would be writing my family doctor to let them know that their past/current actions were illegal.

In the meantime I agree to TRY alternatives one being an ESI (one we agree that if it doesn't work we will find other methods) from the specialist to reduce the pain & help reduce the amount of pain medications. The ESI and new pain medications went horribly wrong. I had more pain &worsening symptoms than when I started treatment and had a terrible reaction to the medication. The specialist immediately switched me to Opana. In the meantime I went back to my family doctor to get my refills (per the specialist request) of my daily medications (non narcotics; hbp, beta blocker, clonzepam for GAD). I inform my family doctor that they sent me to an interventionist and that I wont be signing a pain contract as they originally wanted, that PM is NOT their specialty. They (family doc) inform me that what I'm saying is untrue. It was very odd to say the least. I had the feeling that there was more going on and had been for some time, that everyone at my family drs office was acting strange since the results of my MRI had come in but blow it off due to me following every single step that they asked me to take) I inform them that the specialist will be sending them a letter describing his intent.

Thursday I find that due to me refusing a 2nd ESI (epidural steroid injection) the specialist has terminated our relationship and had notified my family doctor the week before. His nurse was very rude & told me I had said things to her that I had not. ie my employer fired me; I was seeing a PM doctor simultaneously, I refused treatment & medications (well yes, the ESI but we discussed alternate treatments & the medication that nearly gave me a heart attack is still sitting here). I remained calm throughout, asking for specifics on each point since it was ALL false, stated what she was saying was false and giggled quietly a little at her mania. She decided to hang up on me with a resounding "whatever".

I immediately call my family doctor to find out the specifics and I am told by their office personnel its because I am not tolerating the medications/the medications are not working (which is only half true but not the entire story which at this point I'm not sure if ANY of them know what is going on within their own practices much less with my back issues).

Yesterday I get a handwritten letter from my family doctor stating I will no longer be seen my them due to pain medication issues. The way the letter is worked makes me sound like an addict not a pain patient with ruptured discs.

I have NEVER ONCE asked for any medication that has been prescribed to me through their practice. I have followed my family drs instructions that each month I month come in for refills for my daily medications as well as anxiety & pain medications. I have never hinted that I wanted pain medications, that was their decision on their own to start prescribing. I had no idea that in order to give medications on a regular basis that you needed a contract between the physician and patient. Nor did I know that a family doctor giving pain medications for back injury/chronic pain was illegal. (the back issues are documented by MRI/exrays)

I do, however, know now that I basically have been fired by two doctors. I am worried sick how this looks on me, trying to find a new primary care physician and having an upcoming appt with an actual pain management doctor that MY former doctor referred me to (last week before all this transpired) in order to address the issues I'm having with my spine (Ruptured L4/L5, degeneration & osteoarthritis throughout my C, T & L Spine. Or so I thought.

It seems now I'm being labeled as whatever term they call it these days; druggie, junkie, CRAZY because thats exactly how I feel at the moment, like I am about to lose my mind in an attempt only to get some relief from this horrific spinal pain, get back to my family and my job as soon as possible! Without going bankrupt in the process!

Has anyone had a problem like this? What in the world is going on & what can I do to clear my name, because frankly I'm quite upset that this has gone this far. Rupturing discs is not a new medical phenomena and chronic pain of the spine isn't either. What is happening to me now however is very new and very unfair.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions, support, etc.

LadyBassPlayer 03-14-2014 10:29 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Hi CarrieMarie and welcome to the board! I took the time to read your posts (3) to try and see if there was anything helpful I could say. There's a lot going on, and I am so sorry that you are having all these problems with your doctors and getting the treatment and relief that you need. I can't speak to why they have treated you like this, but getting "fired" is truly upsetting.
One thing that stuck out...I'm not a doctor or lawyer, but I doubt that it is " illegal" for your family doc to have been prescribing Vicodin (hydrocodone) for you. That seems odd that the intervention Dr would say that....but I wasn't there.
Really all I can think of is to express my empathy for your frustration and difficult situation, and to suggest that when you see the pain doc, or whoever you go to in the future, that you write out a concise but complete history of your pain problem, bring copies of the xray and MRI reports with you, anything that can document your injuries and issues. Try to be as calm as you can when explaining your problems, and downplay the drama that has gone on with these docs. New docs don't want to get involved with drama, they would probably shy away from it for fear of getting wrapped up in it. Hope that makes sense....focus on your pain and the causes.
I pray that you will get to a doctor that will treat you well, soon. Best wishes and God bless you.

CarrieMarie 03-14-2014 05:42 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED Me Today! Over PM
Thank you, LadyBassPlayer for both your response & your advise.

Honestly, I do not understand any of what has been going on the past few days. I grew up in a family full of physicians and I realize the times have changed, a lot, but to this extreme just seems a little much. To be pitted between two warring doctors was never my intent, just some help getting back to my family & my job were the only priorities 1 & 2 the past few months.

I believe the idea that one doctor is wrong doing comes from a statue saying one cannot continuously provide a scheduled narcotic on a regimented basis without a contract between the physician and the patient (via internet college lol). How that is anyone's business I don't know. And how one physician could sit down and put pen to paper without first checking all avenues to ensure what/whom they're accusing is correct, I don't know that either, it is truly is quite dramatic.

But I hear you loud & clear. Again, having family members, albeit retried/almost retired physicians I know how to act in a physicians office and around their nurses. Hopefully the pain management doctors will see me and this wont even be brought up... I'd like to focus on why I'm there, the treatments I've had and that worked/didn't and see where we go from there. It seems those Ive met with thus far have not opened a file much less asked me what I'm feeling...and how you can dx a patient and provide treatment without those two things is just baffling. But I keep being reminded this is the state of health care today and I have to live with it.

The closer I come to the appointment the more anxious I become. Ive always been that way and I don't expect it to change any time soon. :) I don't look at my anxiety being drama I look a it as an illness I have to cope with. Just another cross to bear. *sigh*

I do appreciate your time. :) Thanks again!

SK59 03-14-2014 06:17 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Hi CarrieMarie,

I'm kind of jumping in here.

I'm sorry that you having such a hard time!

I just wanted to say that my PCP prescribes my pain medication and he does not require a pain contract. I do see him once a week for various medical issues, but he said that as long as I have a documented diagnosis that substantiates the need for pain medication and he continually monitors my progress & needs he can continue prescribing them.

I think that many doctors have stopped writing prescriptions for narcotics but it is certainly not illegal for a family doctor to prescribe them as long as he/she has documented proof that they are being prescribed properly.

It sounds like there were some egos at play in your situation. I'm sorry you were caught in the cross-fire!


CarrieMarie 03-14-2014 06:31 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!

Thank you for following all of that! And you're more than welcome to jump on in.

I suppose you'd be correct that's just how I understood it coming from the interventionist that never had a one of my patient files and was purely acting on assumptions... you know what they say about those! ;)

Its akin to me getting my medical degree via the web md site. It shouldn't ever happen. Of course that is MY opinion on the matter.

LadyBassPlayer 03-15-2014 12:30 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
By "drama" I was referring to the two doctors and their behavior....not necessarily anything you did/said. Just wanted to clear that up... :) Best wishes and keep us posted on how it goes with the new pm...I sincerely pray it all goes very well for you.

janalynn62 03-19-2014 10:45 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
I am so sorry that you were treated this way!
First, I have never heard of it being illegal for a primary care physician to prescribe pain meds, unless it's a state by state thing. Mine has done it several times. Heck my dentist does it.

I'd get a copy of your records from them immediately. It will show when he prescribed. Also you can get copies from your pharmacy showing that you weren't filling early etc.
You, as the patient have the right to make choices about your care, which procedures you agree to and which you are not comfortable with!

It's a blessing in disguise that neither of these two are treating you. They apparently don't have your best interest at heart.

When hiring a new PCP, you can be honest and ask for a referral to a good and reputable pain management clinic. Don't bash the other Dr., but if it comes up, just tell them about the weirdo referral and what happened. Get your records first so you can see what is written and know what would need to be addressed if anything. Get them given directly to YOU, not forwarded to a new doctor.

PhilliesFan20 03-20-2014 07:31 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
I also want to jump in to say any medical doctor can prescribe narcotics and there is nothing that requires a specific pain contract be invoked to do so. For almost 3 years, either my PCP or orthopedist prescribed short acting narcotics to help relieve my pain. It was only when I started seeing a pain management doctor, who prescribed long acting medications, that I was asked to sign a contract.

As others have mentioned, I would compile all medical records (including MRIs) for your new doctor. I would also try to be non-judgmental as possible when describing your situation- complaining about your previous doctors may make the new physician hesitant to take you on (no one wants a patient who they think may be trouble). I suggest also emphasizing that you are willing to try any therapy (aside from ESI) to help your pain - alternative methodologies as well as medication.

Given the interventionalist's comments, it is highly likely his letter accused your PCP of acting illegally, a comment your PCP may think came from you or one that scared him into thinking the interventionalist would report him. Although this is merely the interventionlist's crazy opinion, many doctors are so worried about the DEA coming down on them that your's may have just felt it was better - for him - to cut you loose. Of course none of that helps you. Unfortunately, it sounds like you ran into a doctor with a g-d complex.

Best of luck. I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything works out for you.

CarrieMarie 03-20-2014 11:08 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Just a quick update regarding the new pain management physician. He was wonderful. We went through my records & my most recent MRI step by step and he explained my condition, degenerative disc disease and how bad it actually is...that I have a laceration to one of my discs and we need a CT to see if I'm leaking spinal fluid, this he seemed very concerned about amongst a host of other issues.

It all went very well & I was impressed with him & the entire visit, exam, etc. He didnt waste time with a bunch of nonsense, like the interventionist. He told me everything I needed to know, took time to answer questions and gave em specific advice on what to do about working, etc. For now, rest and as we know more after the Ct we will go from there.

As far as the pcp I know he (the interventionist) sent her a letter I do not know what it contained. Although as a result I am now out a pcp and certainly need one for my daily medications for high blood pressure, etc. Im not sure what to do about this one.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I just went in with my tests and they spoke for themselves.

CarrieMarie 03-20-2014 11:15 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
[QUOTE=LadyBassPlayer;5274295]By "drama" I was referring to the two doctors and their behavior....not necessarily anything you did/said. Just wanted to clear that up... :) Best wishes and keep us posted on how it goes with the new pm...I sincerely pray it all goes very well for you.[/QUOTE]

Oh, I knew that! I was just so hysterical, I knew I was being dramatic as well! Ive never run into such a horrible mess in all my years. I didn't mean to imply you said anything of the sort!

I really appreciate yours and everyone else's wisdom since I am new to all of this!

Keeping my fingers crossed that my new doctor will take good care of me. Looks like surgery may be ahead, and although that's not what I had wanted if it must be, it shall. )

michael 1225 03-24-2014 05:17 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
It is sad to read all the problems you are having...I will tell you that many MD's ask for a "pain contract" to protect themselves against people who go to many doctors to obtain narcotics, and to protect themselves from overdose etc....sadly, in this time we live in many people sell their medications etc, and the physicians want to protect themselves from people who do these things and, sadly, the person it hurts is someone like yourself who is a real pain patient seeking relief...ask the new MD your seeing to refer you to someone who will be your primary care md, that might solve some of your any rate, good luck and I hope you find relief

Dogluver1 03-24-2014 11:48 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Carriemarie, first I do have to say I am impressed with your calmness regarding this situation. I am sure you felt crazy, but you came across as very intelligent and literate. And by that I mean I had no trouble following your story. Sometimes people who are upset will jump all over the place and it's hard to follow their story.

What a relief you saw a doctor who knows what he is doing. When this is all said and done you may be very relieved they fired you. It never feels good to get fired, especially over a pain medicine issue. I was fired once for getting a second opinion to avoid a radical surgery. Even though I made the right choice I still felt offended to get "fired". Maybe we need to start doing the firing LOL.

Well now that you have a proper PM hopefully you will find a good PCP. I am going to be needing to find a new one as well and am not looking forward to it.

CarrieMarie 03-25-2014 06:36 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Thanks Michael! Fantastic idea...

I love the new physician and his staff. They are all very professional, very caring and really apt to listen as well as do all the proper assessments.

I'm certain they'd know someone decent to see in the future. I have an appt in less than a week. I will certainly ask.

karlee10 03-29-2014 01:35 AM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED ME TODAY!
Hi. How are you doing? I am so glad you're getting help like you deserve. It does sound like the firing will end up to be best for YOU in the end! I like happy endings! I'm praying for you. Jemma.

Eva 14 04-09-2014 07:52 PM

Re: HELP! Family Doctor FIRED Me Today! Over PM
CarrieMarie, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. It all sounds very similar to a horrible experience that I went through with my own family doctor and neurologist, about 5 years ago.

I've had excruciating migraines for over 20 years, so it's certainly well-documented. In that time, I have tried EVERYTHING that my neurologist suggested, including a few 'experimental' treatments. I was DESPERATE to find ANYTHING that would work to END my horrible severe migraines! NOTHING ever worked for me, unfortunately.

My family doctor was prescribing a small amount of codeine per month, since I also have endometriosis. My neurologist was prescribing a very small amount of painkillers for my migraines. Now, my GP and my neuro are long-time friends. My GP was the doctor who REFERRED me to the neuro to begin with. I never concealed the fact that my GP was prescribing codeine for my endometriosis. My GP sometimes mentioned that he and the neuro sent each other 'letters' about my treatment plans, so I absolutely thought that both my neuro and my GP knew exactly what each one was prescribing.

Through a horrible series of misunderstandings (probably the doctors' fault for sloppy records-keeping) I ended up getting labeled a 'doctor-shopper' and a 'drug addict'. This was so FALSE it was ridiculous and very HURTFUL, too! For 16 long years, I'd been seeing both the GP and the neuro, and NOW suddenly they were both informing me that they were 'terminating' my treatment!? Without so much as a referral to a pain management doctor?! I could NOT believe it.

When I called the neuro's nurse to try to explain, she was extremely RUDE and snotty! This was a woman who had seen me for 16 years, at my worst times of migraine pain, etc. I had thought she was sympathetic to my pain, but suddenly I was being treated like a drug addict!

When I told the neuro nurse that I was currently in the midst of a SEVERE migraine, she replied, "Well, this will make it WORSE". What kind of sadists are they!?

I told the neuro nurse that I didn't know any other doctors or neurologists----so what on Earth was I supposed to do NOW? She ended up giving me the name of a doctor whom she claimed was a 'pain management specialist'. She told me to call this doctor immediately. When I called the doctor she'd suggested, I quickly learned that this doctor did NOT prescribe opiates of any kind, whatsoever! All he did was 'trigger point' injections and Botox. And he was NOT an anesthesiologist, like most GOOD pain docs are. He wasn't even a real pain doc; he was just someone who took all he patients that other doctors wanted to get rid of. (The patients that other docs thought were 'addicts' or 'abusers').

I soon received a nasty letter in the mail from my long-time GP, accusing me of being a 'doctor-shopper' and telling me that I 'clearly needed to see an addiction medicine specialist". The doctor could NOT have been more WRONG! The letter informed me that I was being terminated from the GP's practice. The GP told me in the letter to see the phony 'pain management' doctor, as well as 'an addiction medicine specialist'.

I was crying, alone, and in terrible pain. Do these doctors not KNOW the HELL that they put legitimate chronic pain patients through? I was afraid I may NEVER be able to get ANY pain meds again, and I need them just to be able to get out of bed in the morning. I need sleep meds to sleep at night, too.

I had to spend HOURS doing my OWN research before I finally found the names of a few legitimate pain docs in my area. Anyone can advertise as a 'pain management' doctor and many are phony. The GOOD pain docs also tend NOT to advertise very much. And you NEED a referral to get in to see a PM.

At least my neuro gave me the referral to the GOOD pain doc whom I had found on my own. My neuro's office also faxed over my 16 YEARS worth of records, documenting my years of excruciating 'status migrainosus'. I had to ASK them to do this, of course. I had to do everything, all on my own and in terrible pain.

Everything ended up working out well. That 'misunderstanding' was the best thing that ever happened to me! I NOW receive adequate pain relief, for the first time in my life. My pain doc has NEVER treated me like a 'drug addict, 'drug abuser', 'hypochondriac', or any of the other crummy LIES that the GP and the neuro said about me. I think pain docs have a 'sixth sense' about when a patient is telling the truth or not. I just told my pain doc the whole truth about my 20-year battle with excruciating migraine pain, and he UNDERSTOOD. He never DOUBTED me for a second!

Carrie, I just wanted to let you know that you definitely are not the only chronic pain sufferer who has suffered even more at the hands of the medical establishment. I was very young when my migraines began, which was a strike against me getting pain relief. Nothing non-narcotic ever worked for me, so that was another strike. And migraine does NOT show up on any kind of diagnostic test, so that's another big strike. A doctor just has to believe me when I say I'm in excruciating pain. Fortunately, my pain doc has always believed me.

I really hope that you are able to find a GOOD pain doc who takes your pain seriously. Whenever I'd ask my GP or my neuro for a referral to a pain doc, I was told that I didn't need that and all sorts of other weird excuses. If my neuro wasn't comfortable with the amount of pain meds that I needed, why didn't he just refer me to a pain management doctor? I'll never understand it. You're not alone in being treated terribly by the medical establishment. These docs don't know the pain we live with every single day! Most doctors and nurses have a very POOR understanding of chronic pain and of opiates meds. Best of luck to you!

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