Pain Center, Redux

The phone number in the letter is a NON WORKING NUMBER at Health East, naturally.

I’m absolutely livid. So angry.

I just received a registered letter from the pain center I visited last week alerting me that I am “terminated” as a patient. (Not that I wanted to go there again.)

It makes me SO angry that they can treat a patient so shabbily, lie about them, then turn around and send a letter implying that – through the fault of the patient – they’ve been “terminated”

(“Terminated” is also a very unfortunate word choice for a patient who still battles the effects of Stage 4 Lymphoma.)

I met with my PCP this week, peed in a cup, signed a contract and now I’ll be getting my OxyContin from him.

I have the wherewithal to do this. But what about the patients that don’t?

This is a terrible way to treat any human, especially a patient who has come to you for help, who has been undergoing radiation and chemo therapy at the SAME CANCER CENTER where the pain center is located.

[for background on this, read my post from last week]

11 thoughts on “Pain Center, Redux

  1. I’m so sorry about this. Did the therapist report anything about this encounter? It seems to me that something isn’t working at that pain center–and an employee who depicts the situation this way may need to be reported. That’s just my two cents though…I hope things continue to improve and you get stronger and stronger!

    • I’m seeing my therapist this week and I’m very interested to get her take on this. I’ve been asked NOT to just let this slide by my grief group (they were very upset on my behalf) but I’m weighint what is best for my own mental health vs. what is the right thing to do.

      • I have had to deal with some of this in bad health care encounters for me and my twins. I understand the calculations about mental health entirely and the cost benefit analysis but I agree this should not be left as is, this person could be threatening others’ access to care.

        My best advice is to write a pretty detailed, formal letter with an account of what happened, referencing the nurse, the therapist, and other professionals involved. Send copies of that same letter to multiple places including their patient feedback/patient care office. You will have done your due diligence, and told a lot of people. It will be up to them to act on it and fix what went wrong. I did this and it was remarkable how thankful the people in charge were…I think they just did not know how hard it was to get the help and care we needed to access,

  2. I am livid too. You don’t deserve this type of treatment – it’s all based on what that “analyst” who should have a job in that sort of work said, all of it lies.

  3. I say report them to their own patient relations department. Make it clear you’re not looking to continue care there. Tell them you’d already decided not to return and made other arrangements. Hospitals take patient complaints seriously, at least most do. If they understand you’re not looking to get anything out of the complaint personally, it will mean even more. I know this as a doctor who’s been on the other side of the phone with patient relations!

    Your instincts were right and that provider should be held responsible for her behavior. I doubt you’re the only person She treated that way and it was really wrong. Terminating a patient after one visit is crazy! Good doctors (and other providers) know how to handle all types of patients: upset, angry, even truly drug seeking patients. We are supposed to have the skills to help them all, not just the ones we “click” with on the first visit. And pain specialists, in particular, should have these skills. It’s hard to be in pain and it makes people irritable all the time (not that I’m saying you were) so pain specialists really should be able to handle a difficult encounter without blowing it up into the end of a doctor patient relationship. I’m sorry this happened to you and I think you’d feel better if you made a formal complaint. But, once you’ve done that, don’t dwell on it. Just focus on yourself and your recovery. You deserve it!

    • Thank you. Your comments are VERY helpful to me. I especially like,

      “And pain specialists, in particular, should have these skills. It’s hard to be in pain and it makes people irritable all the time (not that I’m saying you were) so pain specialists really should be able to handle a difficult encounter without blowing it up into the end of a doctor patient relationship.”

      THAT, for me, is the nut of this. I honestly don’t THINK I was difficult or irritable, but even if I was, this reaction is totally out of line.

      • Hello Dear Annie,

        Thinking of you as always and so sorry to hear you had to deal with people with lack of compassion and lack of bedside manner. It is very good that you aired these issues and I hope that you have been getting all the care you need. Sending you healing thoughts, light, love and may 5780 be a much better year! Morris

  4. You have the right under HIPAA to review and correct your records. At the very least do that and include anything from your other drs that support your corrections.

    If you have the emotional energy, take this up through the patient care advocates and if necessary the heads of the relevant departments. The actions taken by the nurse appear retaliatory for some imagined slight and that is unacceptable.

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