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. IN THE SPIRIT OF WALTER R. CLEMENT BS., MS, MBA. HARVEY JENKINS MD, PH.D., 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., CHRISTOPHER RUSSO, MD., NANCY SEEFELDT, 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
DR. WAYNE A.I. FREDERICK, MD., MBA, FACS AND PRESIDENT OF HOWARD UNIVERSITY AND “DRUG SEEKER??”
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, Charles R. Drew professor of surgery and Howard University president, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
According to NAM, Dr. Frederick was chosen “for being a tireless and gifted higher education leader and health care administrator and world-renowned surgeon. As president of Howard University, he has worked to develop a diverse healthcare workforce while advising U.S. and international officials in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.”
AND THE REAL FEAR
In February 2023, I attended an annual lecture to honor the legacy of Mercy Douglas Hospital, the last black hospital in Philadelphia that closed in 1973. The guest lecturer was Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, FACS, and President of Howard University. He mentioned that he had sickle cell anemia.
He said that he takes precautions to ensure he is adequately hydrated and has Motrin in case of a crisis. He also stated that he feared having a crisis outside of Washington DC and presenting to an Emergency Room where he could be accused of “drug seeking” and not be given opiate pain medication to treat his pain.
His story is real and illustrates the anxiety patients with a history of chronic pain face every day and the threat to their very lives DOJ-DEA abberant policies pose. The DEA is not a medical entity and has no authority to limit treatment and treatment options within the medical community.
According to Michael Allen, a sickle cell patient, and advocate:
“The devastation this disease causes reaches far beyond the pain episodes that can occur without warning. Living with chronic pain causes many of us to handle these moments differently than people who have pain infrequently or who have had surgery for example.
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MISTREATMENT STARTS IN ER
Mr. Allen points out;
“Most sickle cell patients can have pain that could be measured as an 8 or 9, and they can keep their composure when most people would be crying or screaming out for help, people with sickle cell may sit and listen to music, talk on the phone or do something to act as a distraction. Coping with pain on a long-term basis allows the individual to develop a level of tolerance that, thankfully, most people never have to understand.
However, with this tolerance comes the misconception that these patients are not in the type of pain they claim to be in. This causes many of these patients to be misjudged and mistreated, often starting in the Emergency Room.
In the ER, these patients are often made to wait for hours suffering in pain because someone has decided they are not in pain at the level they claim to be at, or they are simply there seeking the pain medication. For many of these patients deciding to go to the Emergency Room versus attempting to make it through the night and go into the clinic in the morning, where the staff knows them, brings about one of the first triggers to the stress they must cope with. Years of poor treatment in the ER setting have conditioned many in the adult population to consider any other alternative before deciding to go to the Emergency Room.
When your pain and other symptoms dictate your need for medical treatment, but you realize that the very place you need to go is also the one place that may ultimately increase your stress and pain, it is an irony that is hard to accept. Along the way, we have met patients who have been so traumatized during their attempts to seek care that they have developed coping skills that they hope will prevent a repeat of past events.
Some of them dress in their Sunday best and bring all their money so they can prove to the healthcare provider that they are there seeking medical assistance. To try and prove that if they were looking for drugs, they had the money to go buy them. Once the patient is finally taken into the exam area, the next phase of this process begins.
GETTING CLOSE TO THE RIGHT DOSE
The next phase is the issue of getting as close to the correct dose as you can because, once again, you must defend or explain repeatedly what your actual pain level is. Trying to be direct and demand a certain dosage may send a false signal to the hospital staff that you are simply drug-seeking. Yet, if you don’t speak up, you may not receive an adequate dosage to manage your pain.
This is part of the struggle every Sickle Cell patient can encounter during an Emergency Room visit. An established pain management protocol could be a potential remedy to this barrier to care. This Protocol would be based on that patient’s prior admissions and prior dosing requirements.
Mr. Allen further states;
“While many hospitals have yet to establish this type of protocol, with those hospitals that have, it still comes down to the issue of trust because some hospital staff has a pre-existing prejudice that affects how they treat patients with this disorder. As a result of these repeated negative events, a large percentage of the adult Sickle Cell population has been affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which, to a large extent, has not been diagnosed.
Living with a severe chronic disorder can wreak havoc on a family in almost every way, financially, psychologically, and with relationships of every type. People who live in this chaos dream of a way out, be it from within by overcoming the disorder in some way or from outside help, either from friends, family or a benevolent organization willing to support them.
Yet the latter option is rare to find. Few organizations are willing to support a family with a holistic support system that fixes every problem one might have. There are usually large holes in a supportive organization’s safety net that they are unable or unwilling to patch. They only guide in finding other support programs or a one-time small financial donation to alleviate short-term financial needs. Or they provide education on a certain issue to help an individual or family improve their own chances of overcoming their problem.
The process of improving an individual’s or family’s quality of life can vary greatly based on the disorder, the complexity of the disorder, the length of time living with this disorder, as well as the range of resources available. The range of resources will vary based on the disorder and the established foundation of resources for the said disorder.
Sickle cell, for example, may have a wide range of educational resources as well as various treatment centers. Yet, the actual resources for sickle cell in terms of emergency funding for food, utilities, housing, and transportation are virtually non-existent.
About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study, leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.
The University is committed to Excellence in Truth and Service. It has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.
Dr. Walter F. Wrenn III,MD
Dr. Norman J. Clement RPh., DDS
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN