NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., INC.T. SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HON. PATRICE LUMUMBA, IN THE SPIRIT OF ERLIN CLEMENT SR., WALTER F. WRENN III., MD., JULIE KILLINGWORTH, LESLY POMPY MD., NANCY SEEFEDLT, WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., NEIL ARNAND, MD., RICHARD KAUL, MD., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NJOKU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
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A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Hello, my name is CaSonya Richardson-Slone.
My late husband Brent Slone passed away on September 12, 2017, due to suicide that was brought on by his pain physician’s negligence when a nurse practitioner that treated my husband cut his rx pain medication dose by more than half in a single visit. I sued my late husband’s pain clinic for malpractice and won. I was able to turn my husband’s and family’s tragedy into triumph. Its important I share my late husband’s story so the decision-makers at the CDC can hopefully sympathize, and understand what the chronic pain patient community is up against.
At first glance, the proposed updated CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain is a sigh of relief, and a long-awaited correction to the 2016 CDC Chronic Pain Opioid Guidance that caused widespread suffering and harm to chronic pain patients by their pain physicians who reduced, or altogether stopped their necessary opioid pain medicine. This was a violation of their human rights as citizens who put their faith in a flawed federal healthcare system that treated them more like drug-addicted addicts than vulnerable patients in significant physical pain.
The misinformation is written into the 2016 CDC Chronic Pain Opioid Guidance that many physicians and lawmakers interpreted as fact and influenced laws by various states, insurance companies, and pharmacies left many chronic pain patients without access to their prescribed pain medication, and with little to no hope of living a normal pain-free quality of life.
As a result, the harsh CDC recommendations left many chronic pain patients to suffer inhumanly, and at the mercy of their chronic pain physicians, and clinics without any realistic alternatives to their opioid pain medication to relieve their severe pain. Many cpp’s pain prescriptions were reduced significantly without being tapered, stopped, and some patients were discharged from their pain clinics altogether because their chronic pain treatment required more than the CDC recommended 90 mme to realistically relieve their pain symptoms.
After reviewing the proposed updates I worry that many chronic pain patients will continue to be forced to endure their pain and have their cries silenced by an agency that has no business implementing drug administration guidance and recommendations. Let alone continue to suggest dosing recommendations to patients in chronic pain, especially already existing long-term cpp’s such as my late husband. I applaud the obvious suggestion of individualized patient care, which has been long overdue because pain varies from person to person, and their medical treatment should mirror that. I’m also very pleased to see that slow tapering is still highly recommended for long-term chronic pain patients on higher levels of opioid pain medication.
However, I worry that the suggestion of using opioid pain medications as a last resort will continue to leave many patients in significant pain. I’m all for nonopioid pain treatment options. However, I feel they should be used in conjunction with opioid medications if a patient is expressing their in significant pain, as well as, patients who have already tried non opioid pain relief options, but are still suffering.
IT’S TIME THE FDA STEP IN
Unless significant changes are made at a federal level cpp’s will continue to be at the mercy of federal agencies, harsh state legislation, misguided and/or neglectful pain physicians, and misinformed public opinion. Changes have to be made at a federal level before insurance companies and pharmacies will update their guidelines and practices.
I feel it’s time that the FDA steps in and makes the necessary changes considering opioid drug overdoses are at an all-time high when opioid pain medication prescribing has been at an all-time low for some time. The federal government now has proof that the opioid crisis is not a result of the overprescribing of opioid pain medications, but is mostly due to illegal drug abuse and/or fake fentanyl being sold to addicts and used to lace other street drugs.
Last but not least, my late husband Brent Slone and many cpp’s have, and continue to be taken advantage of by neglectful and cruel chronic pain practices by pain physicians who do not have their best interest at heart, but instead continue to be driven by building their patient count in their practices for revenue. This conflict of interest and lack of regulation has caused many patients to receive lower standards of quality care, and left vulnerable to medical mistakes as in the case of my late husband.
Patients with chronic pain need and require specialized and individualized quality care. Chronic pain physicians should also be required to see their patients in a realistic timely manner, and on a routine basis instead of contractually obligating patients to see physician assistants and nurse practitioners more often than not.
MEDICATIONS CUT IN HALF IN A SINGLE VISIT
My late husband and I advocated fiercely for him to receive timely quality and compassionate care, but his pain physicians’ lack of respect, empathy, and neglect cost Brent his life. The nurse practitioner that mistakenly cut my husband’s pain medication by more than half in a single visit was a new nurse practitioner at the pain clinic that had never seen or treated my husband before. My husband had requested numerous times to see his actual pain physician, but his requests were often ignored.
During the trial, this nurse practitioner admitted to not even knowing what a high or low dose of MME pain medication was. Before trial, my husband’s physicians testified under oath in their depositions to not knowing why the nurse practitioner cut his pain medication by more than half and made no mention of purposely cutting his pain medicine in half due to any concerns of his current pain medication dose being too high. Under oath, they acknowledged that if a nurse practitioner cut my husband’s pain RX by more than half in a single visit that it would be considered a medical mistake because a nurse practitioner by law can’t write an RX for a schedule 2 narcotic that’s prescribed longer than 72 hours.
By the time we went to trial my husband’s pain physicians stories had changed and their argument was that one of the physicians in the office purposely cut my husband’s pain medicine by more than half in a single visit because of their concerns his rx pain dose he was currently taking was too high. However, there was no evidence to prove this and their previous deposition testimony and their trial testimony contradicted one another. Thankfully, the jury that heard my husband’s story at trial and reviewed all of the prosecution’s evidence turned our family’s tragedy into triumph by making sure his pain physicians and their practice were held accountable on all counts!
VICTORY IN COURT
This groundbreaking victory in court was a game changer! It proved that pain clinics and physicians can and should be held accountable for their neglect, medical mistakes, and poor standards of care. I hope the verdict encourages you and your loved ones to advocate for yourselves, and fight for your rights so your voices be heard. I understand it’s not easy, but it’s absolutely necessary if we want to see real changes and it’s long overdue! I highly encourage you and your loved ones to send in your personal stories and comments to the CDC no later than the deadline of April 11, 2022. It’s so important that the final draft reflects the needs and support that the chronic pain patient community has gone without for far too long.
In this together,
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN
REFERENCE AND CREDIT TO:
Founder/Doctor-Patient Forum/Don’t Punish Pain: RIH5247-S384/author