• Double Suicide Due to DEA -Danny and Gretchen Elliot - Episode 14

    Episode 14 - 11/13/22

    Link to Episode

    Danny Elliot was a chronic pain patient who has been vocal on Twitter about what it was like for him after he lost his doctor because of actions of the DEA.

    Danny lost his doctor a few weeks ago for the third time due to the DEA. Where was the CDC's Opioid Rapid Response Program?

    The following article in Pain News Network gives a bit more detail.

    DEA Suspension of Doctor's License Leads to Double Suicide

    Please go to the following sources to hear/read them in their entirety. 

    1. Journalist Barry Meier at Stanford Medicine's Health Policy Forum
    2. Roger Chou's interview - PCSS Episode 5 - Applications of the CDC Guidelines
    3. Kolodny's quote about suicide due to pain being bogus
    4. Adriane Fugh-Berman pushes back against Dr. Kertesz about the need to study suicide due to pain or stopping pain medication
    5. Danny's Podcast on Painkiller

    Links mentioned in this podcast episode:

    Opioid Rapid Response Program (ORRP) Information

    Dr. Kertesz's Tweet about California Doctor

    CDC's recent tweet about ORRP

    Suicide hotline: 988 or 911

    Disclaimer: The information that has been provided to you in this podcast is not to be considered legal or medical advice.

  • Physician Liability for Suicide after Negligent Tapering of Opioids by Mark A. Rothstein and Julia Irzyk

    A brand new article called:

    Physician Liability for Suicide after Negligent Tapering of Opioids

    by Mark A. Rothstein and Julia Irzyk

    Are physicians liable if they abandon or force taper a patient who is on opioids and that patient takes his life? This is an excellent article to share.

    "Abstract: The precipitous and medically contraindicated reduction or “tapering” of opioids for patients with chronic pain due to serious medical conditions has caused needless suffering and, increasingly, suicide. Physicians could be liable for wrongful death based on negligent tapering of opioids."

    Some quotes from the article:

    "Patients treated for chronic pain with opioids are highly vulnerable. They have medical conditions with severe pain that cannot be controlled by other treatment modalities or less potent analgesics. Their underlying medical condition, their pain level, and the opioids they take all may interfere with their cognitive or reasoning abilities. They are dependent on their physician’s renewal of their prescriptions; there are no safe and effective alternatives. Significantly, they bear the stigma of requiring drugs often associated with personal immorality or criminal activity. As a price for access to a substance that allows them to lead the semblance of a normal life, patients with chronic pain are often required to sign contracts pledging compliance with terms imposed on them, to submit to periodic or random urine testing, and to bear humiliation by a society that is frequently fearful, suspicious, and intolerant. Few other patients are subject to such indignities."

    "Vulnerable patients should not be abandoned or have their treatment unreasonably delayed when they are at risk of accidental or intentional overdosing."

    "A plaintiff must prove that the defendant-physician failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, which almost always requires expert testimony. An important issue is whether the standard may be established by the introduction of nonbinding professional guidelines or recommendations. In In re Jankowski, a state licensing agency brought disciplinary proceedings against a physician for, among other things, prescribing excessive levels of opioids without medical justification. The appellate court, in affirming sanctions against the physician, held that the 2016 CDC Guideline was the standard of care for a pain management physician, notwithstanding the statement in the Guideline that it applied only to primary care clinicians."

    "America’s opioid crisis is well into its third decade. There are many causes of this problem and resolving them will take a variety of measures over an extended time. Unfortunately, some past efforts to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with improper use of prescription opioids have been ineffective and led to
    disastrous unintended consequences. One such attempt to limit the supply of prescription opioids involved the issuance of prescribing guidelines. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of opioid prescriptions declined dramatically from 255 million to 142 million, but the number of overdose deaths soared from 41,000 to 100,000. One of the most tragic consequences of curtailing the use of opioids for managing severe, chronic pain has been an increase in suicides, which now account for an estimated 30 percent of drug overdose fatalities. It is not known how many suicides result from a physician’s negligent, aggressive tapering of opioids."

    "Many physicians are concerned that prescribing opioids could lead to criminal prosecution, license revocation, loss of employment or hospital privileges, or malpractice litigation. On the other hand, legal jeopardy for failing to continue prescribing opioids to existing patients, even when the standard of care requires it, does
    not seem to be a widespread concern."

  • Suicide due to untreated pain. CaSonya Richardson-Slone speaks about her husband, Brent - Episode 5

    Episode 5 - 9/5/22

    Suicide due to untreated pain. CaSonya Richardson-Slone bravely speaks about her husband, Brent

    Link to episode

  • The Suicide Study - Dr. Stefan Kertesz - Episode 43

    Episode 43 - 2/15/24

    Link to Episode

    Show Notes

    Dr. Stefan Kertesz' Bio:

    Stefan Kertesz is a physician at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Since 1996, Dr. Kertesz has focused his work on helping populations at high risk of receiving poor care, including people with pain whose care has changed a great deal in the wake of the US opioid crisis. He's certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine. Dr. Kertesz leads the only federally funded study that seeks to examine suicides occurring after prescription opioids are reduced in people with long-term pain. His team does this by interviewing family members or friends who contact his study team

    A brief study screening survey is available at https://go.uab.edu/csi

    A new interview study seeks bereaved family or friends who believe that they have lost a family member or friend to suicide during or after a reduction in opioid pain medication. Suicides of this nature have been reported, and they represent challenging events to understand. To date, there has been no effort to understand all the factors contributing to these losses, which matters for future prevention.

    The federally sponsored study team, affiliated with University of Alabama at Birmingham, offers a screening survey (online at https://go.uab.edu/csiopioids) for people who believe they lost someone. It's voluntary and highly confidential. People who qualify under the screening survey will be asked to consider whether they would like to do a longer interview. 

    The CSI:OPIOIDs study is ethically approved by the Institutional Review Boards at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It is led by Dr. Stefan Kertesz at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine. All data are strictly confidential. Families or survivors who wish to consider participation should enter the screening website at https://go.uab.edu/csiopioids. There is no remuneration for the screening survey. There is modest compensation for the in-depth interview.

    The study team can be reached by email at csiopioids@uabmc.edu

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