I understand the concerns about narcotic abuse.  I was there, in residency 24 years ago, when the mantra was ‘you don’t do enough for pain.’  We all did more.  Now, all these years later, we’re told ‘you do too much for pain!  What were you thinking?’  It’s all madness.

But what I find a little troubling is a tendency I see now in the various hospitals where I work.  That is, a patient comes in with what seems to be legitimate pain.  I order pain medication.  And I am told, ‘he can’t have it until he has a ride.’  Sometimes the complaint is deception.  Often, the complaint is legitimate.

The official policy most places, however, is ‘no ride, no meds.’  This seems unduly harsh to me.  I understand, dear nurses, that you don’t want to have to babysit for hours. I don’t either.  And I understand liability.  Still, there are times when people are hurting.  Kidney stones, for instance, or fractures.  They genuinely need a medication but they either came by EMS or drove themselves and can’t drive home.

I’m not trying to blame anyone.  But can we all put our heads together and find a better way to do this?  A more compassionate way to do it?

I’m no starry-eyed simpleton.  People abuse drugs and use the ED to get those drugs.

Many, on the other hand, just plain hurt.

Ride or no ride, they need help.

 

 

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