Archive for January, 2012
I have permission to post the following post on a Linkedin forum by Michael Shaffer:
I was researching statistics today and found some interesting (though not unknown) facts concerning annual mortality from opioid related poisoning. As someone working to find better data and predictive instruments for use in chronic pain patient populations, I’d never questioned the media enhanced assumption that there was an “epidemic” of oxycontin driven overdoses sweeping the nation. What I found was that was very far from the truth. The data published by the medical examiners and the CDC all only look at causes of death – and do not account for instances of high dosage end of life patients, etc… Even so, the numbers were still very startling. I’m posting them below. Before I do – be kind. My only agenda is to have a dialogue and hopefully be exposed to new directions.
In 2005, there were approx 217 million filled opioid prescriptions. Of those, 5,362,815 were for Methadone or approx 2.47 %.
In 2005, there were 12, 262 opioid related deaths:
a. 2110 were from Heroin or approx 17%
b. 4462 were from Methadone or approx 36%
c. 5789 were from all other opioids COMBINED or approx 47%
In other words, heroin and methadone make up less than 5% of all opioid use but combine to account for approx 53% of the deaths.
To put those numbers in perspective, each year more the 440,000 people die from cigarettes and more than 75,000 from alcohol. Combined, these two preventable epidemics are causing more than 515,000 deaths in the US annually with no purpose other than to enrich corporations at the detriment to the consumer and to society as a whole.
3400% more deaths than from all opioids (illicit and prescribed) combined.
Well, today I spent time reading newspaper articles about pain subjects and putting in my two cents worth. In one article I pointed out to the author that he was propagating wrong information about drug abuse. This was about Dr. McKay, a doctor convicted and sentenced to 20 years when even the judge thought the sentence was unfair. Someone responded to my comments with one line: “You are a disgrace to the profession.” I’m not sure what made her say that based on my comment. I asked, and didn’t hear back. I assume she is one of the uninformed public that wants to blame doctors for drug abuse. Oh well, maybe I’ve given her some food for thought. Sometimes you have to make people angry to get them off their butt.
I’ve had 49 people look at my website in 2 days. That’s good, but I haven’t heard anything from anybody. Change in thinking takes time. Hopefully they will spread the word. Like the woman above, even people who see things differently need to have their opinions challenged. I’m always open to a good debate. Any takers?
Three weeks ago I planned on having my book published by my 63rd birthday. Well, that’s tomorrow. I finished my website and made it go live tonight. See it at www.lindacheekmd.com. My store can be reached through the website, or directly through http:stores.lindacheekmd.com. All ebook formats of my book can be downloaded directly from my website. The paper version is not yet available. I am going through the proofing steps at Amazon. I hope to have it ready to ship by next week. Don’t let that stop you from ordering it, however. Just know it might be a week before it goes out.
I’ve sold my first copy of the book. Yippee!! Pass the word to your friends. Heck! Don’t stop there! Send it to everyone on your email list.
Yeah, I’m published!! Ebook available at www.Smashwords.com. I am working today at converting it to all the ebook forms for sale on my website. You’ll help me the most buying it from me directly, but just BUY IT, one way or the other.
Ebook price $9.99. You can get that much worth of knowledge on how to improve your own health through alternatives that are available to you soon on my website www.lindacheekmd.com.
Paper copy will soon be POD (print on demand) at Amazon.com. I will also have them available on my website, and that also will be better for me.
Please come back and tell me what you think about my book.
Newt Gingrich has made the comment that “The duty of the president is to find a way to manage the federal government so the primary pain is on changing the bureaucracy. On theft alone, we could save $100 billion a year in Medicaid and Medicare if the federal government were competent. That’s a trillion dollars over 10 years. And the only people in pain would be crooks.”
However, the charge of Medicare/Medicaid fraud has basically been an open door policy into any doctor’s office which they have used mostly on doctors that treat pain. In general, once a doctor has been charged with Medicare/Medicaid fraud, it is hard to fight. And if the doctor chooses to fight it, goes to court, and even gets found guilty of only one charge but innocent of 299, there is still a mandatory 20 year prison sentence. Instead of using this law to make money off good doctors, doctors (especially independents) need to be protected from this outlandish “illegal” use of a law by the Justice Department.
As a felon for Medicare/Medicaid fraud myself, because of $65 overpayment for nurse practitioner billing, and a wonderful program that I developed that actually saved the government millions of dollars, I can speak first hand about the evil of how the government uses this law.
I showed the government a plan that I developed that is a real “health” care plan, and was laughed at. They asked “How would the insurance companies make money?” I still propose my plan. Pay me $1000 per year per patient and I will keep them healthy without unnecessary tests/bloodwork, etc. If more independent physicians considered this type of agreement and simply dropped out of Medicare and Medicaid, we could take away the club the government is using to stop pain management.
The laws in this country cause doctors to spend 20 years in prison just because it is the policy of the just ice department to persecute pain management. The laws are wrong. The policies are wrong. Fifty million untreated pain patients in this country can testify to the need of change in policy and philosophy. Here is the article about one doctor recently convicted. And one major problem is that juries cannot be told that they are committing doctors to 20 year mandatory sentences by their finding them guilty of even one charge. The inflammatory comments made by prosecutors, playing on people’s ignorance of pain medicine, especially the fallacy that the medications cause addiction, cause erroneous decisions by jurors. And judges can do nothing about it. Spread the word. Let people know that this is wrong.
Here’s the article:
Last updated Monday, December 19, 2011 – 11:18pm
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge sentenced Brigham City doctor Dewey MacKay to 20 years in prison Monday, begrudgingly.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson in handing down the sentence expressed unhappiness that he had no leeway under federal sentencing rules.
“This sentence is too long,” Benson said, referring to the 20-year minimum mandatory term leaving him no discretion.
“Congress is imposing this sentence, not me. I do like my job, but not today. I don’t believe the sentence is just.”
MacKay, 64, was convicted Aug. 18 on 40 of 86 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers. The counts were tied to 12 of MacKay’s patients who claimed he gave them whatever narcotics they asked for with little or no medical examination.
After a five-week trial, the jury found MacKay was seeing 100 or more patients a day at times and filling prescriptions for no medical reason.
MacKay was ordered to surrender Feb. 1.
However, his defense attorneys told reporters after Monday’s hearing a motion asking that MacKay remain free pending appeal will be heard before then.
The motion was filed Saturday with Benson. Supporting documents were added Monday just before the sentencing hearing.
Regardless of the outcome of that motion, to be argued in Salt Lake City, the case now moves to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, the defense team said, for the appeal of the jury’s verdict that will be filed soon.
“This case is not going to be over for quite a while,” said Michael Hansen, one of MacKay’s lawyers.
Two of the charges the doctor was found guilty of were tied to the 2006 overdose death of MacKay’s patient, David Wirick, 55, of Ogden, an engineer at ATK Thiokol.
“We could have filed a thousand counts against Dr. MacKay. We could have brought 100 victims to court for every one we named in the indictment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney for Utah Michael Kennedy argued to the judge, while noting it was not logistically feasible.
Reading a letter from one of the aforementioned uncharged victims, Kennedy quoted: “He traded drugs for cash with addicts, knowing they’d keep their mouths shut, and that no one would believe them if they didn’t.”
Lead defense counsel Peter Stirba read one of the 244 letters filed with the court just this month in support of MacKay, and even the prosecution acknowledged his generous volunteerism and service to the community.
Quoting Craig Simper, general counsel for Utah State University, he read: “If it were possible, I and others would volunteer to serve his prison sentence for him.”
In addition to the apologetic sentence, Benson denied a prosecution motion seeking more than $687,000 in restitution for four of MacKay’s victims, including $597,000 sought by Wirick’s heirs.
“One thing this trial illuminated is the area of pain medication … when does pain management become dependency that turns into addiction? Even the doctors don’t know,” the judge said.
MacKay, in remarks to the court, said he apologized for the pain families of his patients felt, but said he was only trying to help people who were suffering.
“I was duped by a dozen patients with ulterior motives,” he said. “I never, ever had any criminal intent.
“I’ve never written a prescription I thought wasn’t needed.”
SALT LAKE CITY — Dewey MacKay was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison today for his conviction on 18 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers.
THE PAIN CARE BILL OF RIGHTS
AS A PERSON WITH PAIN, YOU HAVE:
The Right to have your report of pain taken seriously and to be treated with dignity and respect by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals
The Right to have your pain thoroughly assessed and promptly treated.
The Right to be informed and know your options; talk with your healthcare provider about your pain—possible cause(s), treatment options, and the benefits, risks and costs of each choice.
The Right to participate actively in decisions about how to manage your pain.
The Right to have your pain reassessed regularly and your treatment adjusted if your pain has not been eased.
The Right to be referred to a pain specialist if your pain persists.
The Right to get clear and prompt answers to your questions, take time to make decisions, and refuse a particular type of treatment if you choose.
American Pain Foundation. http://www.painfoundation.org
I saw this poem on American Pain Foundation. I hope Mr. Root doesn’ mind if I share it. The contest was ” If I Lived in a World With Less Pain, I Could…”
Poetry Submission from Robert Root
If I were free we could meet for tea
at three and for more at four.
If I were free you would never see
me in my bedroom, I’d be out the door.
You’d find me in a park or dancing in the dark
From the top of a hill I’d pay all my bills
If I were free I’d make it up to you
for all the times I made you blue,
for the way I depend on you,
for the way you see me through.
We’d take the dog for a walk,
we’d laugh, we’d giggle, and we’d talk
and then I would cook for you,
it’s only fair for what you do.
I’d call all my friends and see them once again,
I’d catch a fish and let him go,
I’d climb a tree and scare a crow.
Without my ills I’d ditch my pills.
I’d write a song if my pain was gone.
I’d dream a dream if I were free,
that all of you, would be just like me.