On hospitals, and pain, and truth.

So you have an abscess forming.. you go to your doctor and get yourself some antibiotics either with the truth or fabricated skin infection depending on your relationship... some flucox should fix it up no worries, it covers 80% or bacterial skin infections.

Oh fuck. It's getting bigger. Seems there's a spot of mrsa in there i.e. the other 20%, that which doesn't respond to flucox and needs different antibiotics. So what do u do? You're going to need IV antibiotics. If you leave it too long you risk losing your hand or worse, endocartitis, and death (doctors will tell u this with glee as you sit sweating and shivering in the emergency department.) So you figure you have to tell them the truth, it's pretty obvious that you got this injury from shooting up, what's the point in lying to them - they're gonna know anyway.
I'll tell you what the point is - the minute you admit to heroin use you are proclaiming yourself a known drug user and making it much harder for them to prescribe you opiate based pain relief.
The risk is that if you don't tell them the truth, they would have to be an absolute dill to not work it out and they might think yr treating them like an idiot.. I told the truth. i deeply regret it.

It meant that they had to get the hospital detox unit involved. I didn't come here to detox. Why should i be denied the pain relief that any other patient would get and only offered opiate substitution therapy?

This is a human rights issue. My choice to use drugs - any drugs - should not affect my treatment regime except when considering dosage and tolerance... I know this is disordered and badly articulated but you see i'm still in the hospital, still hanging, in a ward surrounded by people getting morphine every 2 hours while I sweat and shit and shiver and beg for the occassional valium. The thing is, you have no choice, you have to face the hospital but fuck god help you if u were dealing!

I've been extremely lucky this time to only have a baby habit, but jesus christ if i could have come up with any other story to explain that abscess... so my advice - if u must go to hospital with a habit, and you're going to need pain relief.. then research some other way that you could have gotten the problem (if it is drug use related) and just stick to your damn story!!! say you have an anxiety disorder and you're normally on daily valium to shore up the piddly amounts of morph they'll give u and try not to yell at the doctors or nurses if u can avoid it.

If u must tell the truth - ask to see the acute pain team and the social worker and get them both on side to advocate for you.. but if possible avoid the whole bloody mess. However, when it comes down to it you really can be risking losing limbs or death with abcesses so you have to seek some medical attention... good luck...

the pope


sayarsan's picture

Whether we encounter a doctor through a hospital admission or a visit to their surgery they are bound by the rules to behave in certain ways. This is even more so when they are being paid by a bureaucracy and not your insurance. Even doctors who have a sympathetic attitude towards someone who has become addicted to opiates are in no position to prescribe to that addict. They are able to prescribe Omnopom or Pethidine to some devious person who feeds them the necessary signs and symptoms to reasonably conclude that they suffer from migraines. An associate of mine would do this to several doctors a day until scoring for one or the other while I would fail even tho I might be wearing a full length cast on a painfully broken leg. It must irk many doctors greatly to see their work being complicated in this fashion and most probably find it too embarrassing to admit to such restrictions on their profession but it is a sad fact. Unfortunately their resentment is shown to the one who reminds them of the restriction and not to the much more complex root causes. By pretending otherwise they are engaging in a delusion, for us to expect anything more is to do the same and this must constitute a problem for any doctor who thinks about the ethics of the profession. Anything that interferes with a patient's honest response to a question is a potential hazard and current thinking about drug taking behaviour among legislators is doing that. It turns an honest drug addict into a liar and does the same to many honest doctors who rather than admitting "I'm not allowed to do this" claims "it's unhealthy to do that". A GP (ex British Army in WW2) considered codeine "a perfectly innocuous drug" but when asked for it stated "I can only prescribe it if it is adulterated with aspirin or paracetamol" and saved a lot of time with a waiting room full of people looking to score for linctus. He was paid the same but set himself on the same side of the fence as anyone else being screwed around by a dishonest legislation.

sayarsan's picture

In Asia it is normal for an inpatient to depend on a relative or friend to provide good food and anything else that doesn't relate to the condition for which they were admitted. In Australia when it comes to a habit patients must do the same and instead of seeing it as a medical issue see it as a luxury that falls well outside the responsibility of the hospital. This has a logic to it but makes quite a mockery of the popular view that doctors deserve to be treated openly and honestly for your own good. Make sure you have the money to score and the ability to do so and be careful that you are not caught because the hospital and most employees have a loyalty to their government which far outweighs that to the patient. After making it quite clear that there is no relief from withdrawals coming from the hospital the hospital is bound to bust you as soon as you take responsibility for yourself. It is possible to deal from your hospital bed but getting a supplier to deliver will prove difficult.