My response from Dr. Katzman

Tue, Jun 9, 2015 3:22 pm


Re: An alternative to suicide?

Dear Ms Stahl,

I am sorry to hear of your chronic pain condition. My recommendation for you at this time is to see a primary care provider as soon as you are able. If you are feeling suicidal, you need to go to the nearest emergency room so that you can get the most beneficial help in a timely manner.
Your primary care provider can refer you to our pain clinic for an evaluation if needed.
Thank you,

Joanna G Katzman

Tue, Jun 9, 2015 6:54 pm


Dear Dr. Katzman:

Thank you for your response. I know how busy you must be.

So, your advice is to find and pay a primary care provider; who will then refer me to a doctor at a pain clinic; who I will give even more money to; who will then offer all the treatments I’ve already tried, all of which have failed and caused further damage. I assume you’re not suggesting that a pain clinic will agree to prescribe pain medications, the only other treatment besides cannabis that has helped me in the past.

I was hoping that an expert such as yourself might be interested in a difficult and complex case, but I completely understand why a doctor would not be interested in working on a case that is hopeless. Why waste your precious time? Why attract the attention of the DEA? (Unless they’ve already set up a desk in your office. I mean, it’s not like the DEA would approve of your treating a case like mine.)

Your other advice is to go to the ER, I assume because the ER is so well-known for successfully treating unmanageable intractable pain. Not that ER doctors are allowed to prescribe pain medications either, but I’m sure they can find a straight jacket and rubber room to put me in, giving me even more time to contemplate the hopelessness of my case.

Do you tell your pain patients how sorry you are to hear of their chronic pain conditions, or do you try to help them? Or do you just refer them to pain clinics? And here I thought you were in charge of running a pain clinic at UNM, along with Project ECHO, but I guess I was mistaken. Maybe somebody should inform the Veteran’s Administration that Project ECHO is also unable to offer any help for veterans who suffer from chronic pain.

I want to thank you for confirming my opinion that there is no help to be found through the medical industry for intractable pain patients, and my decision not to waste time or money attempting to do so. I feel better already.

Thank you,
Johnna Stahl

(Note:  I added the paragraph about UNM’s pain clinic and veterans because I thought Dr. Katzman’s email said “a pain clinic,” not “our pain clinic.”  Not that any patient could guarantee that a primary care provider would refer to a specific pain clinic, like UNM.  Sometimes, my anger gets in the way of reading things clearly.)

19 thoughts on “My response from Dr. Katzman

  1. i think she was saying if you followed protocol, you could be refered sooner to her clinic, not just any clinic. i think she was trying to offer you as much help as possible, given that she must recommend the protocol be followed first.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, why did she even bother to respond back? Her response was like I’m too busy to give a sh*t, get off my back. Unbelievable…actually not really. Might as well try a curandera/Yerbero/huesero. I’m even tempted to go to one myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know the exact amount of time, but it can take many months to get an appointment at a pain clinic. Sometimes, even years. Primary care providers are no longer allowed to treat chronic pain — I’ve heard that some put up signs that say, “We do not treat chronic pain patients.” And there are just a few pain specialists for thousands upon thousands of pain patients in this state. Also, many pain specialists will not take Medicare and Medicaid patients, so that narrows the list even more.

      Many pain specialists only offer injections and invasive procedures, and patients don’t know until they’ve seen the doctor whether he or she will prescribe any medications. Which means you pay for nothing. And if they can afford it, pain patients will then go from doctor to doctor trying to find the help they need. The DEA calls this doctor shopping, and if you go from doctor to doctor asking for pain medications, you’re then labeled a drug seeker. Once that label is in your electronic health record, no doctor will agree to see you.


    • Yeah, I’m waiting for the police to knock on my door and take me away to some mental hospital. That’s already happened to me once before. Almost a week spent in the most boring place you can imagine, with people who are really suffering from depressive and mental disorders. My roommate was so depressed she could barely speak, and was scheduled for electric shock treatment on the day I was finally released. And some patients were on so much medication, all they did was slobber all day. It was a sad, sad place, and I only slept for about 10 hours the entire week.

      I appreciate the offer to talk, Z, but I really don’t have anything to say. If talking helped my pain, I’d be seeing a therapist (been there, done that). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could swap some good stories with you about psych wards! Oh geez. Some of it only others who have been there would actually believe! I’m currently afraid of my mother having me commuted in retaliation, so whenever I see I cop car around, I get super edgy..

        Liked by 1 person

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