The Surgeon

So you say you’re in pain
You’ve done tried it all
and now, quite desperate
into my office you crawl

A haven for lost causes
diplomas on the wall
sad folks in the waiting room
seeking hope, one and all

Meet your savior by default
(hawking questionable results)
an ego with balls
he’s here to enthrall

I’ve got the answer, he says
It’s sharp and it’s shiny
Hard. Cold. Steel.
It’s hypnotizing.

I’ve done this before
I think I’m the best
Put your future in my hands
This is the end of your quest

This story doesn’t end well
as many can attest
But don’t you worry none
the surgeon got a new Corvette

(Photo taken 1/25/2015.)

A Pained Life: When There is No Cure

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a good example. Although theories abound as to the cause of TN, even the most long lived school of thought; that a blood vessel is pressing against the nerve, is not accepted by many in the neurosurgical community.

Some patients are helped by surgery, but a large portion do not and get little or no relief. In addition, many develop phantom pain — called Anesthesia Dolorosa — which is truly awful and life destroying in its own way…

Under comments:

Raz A month ago

Kudos for you Carol, dealing with TN is heartbreaking. Ive had it for 17 years, had all the treatments available, even went to Pittsburg to the guru who found that a mvd could possible help TN. Ya know what? Ive got it still, and at times is unbearable. Was on opiate/opioids for 14 years, which admittedly help, but the cost? Until the change in scheduling I had little problem getting my meds; But after one drs visit, and knowing my meds were going to be titrated down, had my one and only panic attack right in his office! Ya well, he asked why my bp so high and what accounted for the state I was in? I blatantly told him YOU!. Needless to say he fired me next day, ANd wrote I was a drug seeker in my charts for all future drs to see, along with broke my contract? Huh? Sooo. now after withdrawals that almost killed me, I am here 14 months later in pain and blacklisted. Who knew? …

“This is a witch hunt of epic proportions.”

HAMILTON – A Florence physician was arrested at his home Thursday morning and charged with more than 400 felonies, including two counts of negligent homicide.

Dr. Chris Christensen, 67, has been under investigation since his Florence clinic, Big Creek Family Medicine, and his home were raided by a joint local, state and federal drug task force in April 2014…

Christensen’s business operated almost exclusively in cash, the affidavit stated. Financial records indicated the business earned about $2,500 a day and grossed more than $500,000 annually…

The DEA believes that any pain doctor that doesn’t take insurance is running a pill mill, and of course that’s very far from the truth. And it seems like the DEA can only charge pain doctors if any of their patients die of a drug overdose.  In Dr. Christensen’s case — a doctor that has been practicing for a very long time — all they found were two deaths. Considering the kinds of patients that pain doctors treat, I’d say two patient deaths out of thousands is not bad at all.

At a news conference Thursday, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver Field Division, Barbara Roach, said Christensen’s patients traveled to his clinic from 10 different states, from as far away as Oregon, Nevada and even Ohio. In Montana, Christensen’s patients came from 62 different cities and towns.

Instead of realizing that the reason for this is that pain patients are unable to find access to health care in their own states, the DEA looks at this as criminal activity. Because… drug war.

Roach said investigators compared the number of prescriptions for controlled substances written by Christensen against seven other physicians from similarly sized communities. Christensen wrote more prescriptions for those type of medications than all of the seven doctors combined, she said.

You can’t compare one physician’s prescribing habits against others, unless you are comparing apples to apples. Were these seven physicians practicing pain management? Were they treating cancer pain? Were they treating pain patients from out-of-state?

The case against Christensen focuses on 11 patients selected by the Ravalli County Attorney’s Office and the drug task force. In nearly all of those cases, Christensen neither contacted the patients’ former physicians nor reviewed medical records before prescribing drugs including methadone, oxycodone and Dilaudid, the affidavit stated…

See, they only found 11 patient records out of thousands. And is there a law that says a doctor is required to contact former physicians for every patient they see? Please, someone show me where this law is located.

After the DEA attempted to contact Marchand, he said he alerted Christensen. The doctor allegedly replied “the DEA can’t do anything to me,” the affidavit stated.

Christensen was indicted in U.S. District Court in Idaho in 2005 on 18 counts of distribution of controlled substances outside the course of a professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose. He was acquitted on those charges in 2010…

Looks like the DEA is after revenge.

The maximum penalty Christensen could face is 388 life sentences, plus 135 years in prison and fines of $20 million.

The DEA overloads the charges like this to put fear in the hearts of their victims. And it works. Fear and the inability of victims to pay for an adequate defense gives the DEA an incredible amount of power that is rarely defeated.

“This has been a long process,” Fulbright said. “More than a year of investigation work was completed before search warrants were issued for Dr. Christensen’s office and home. Those searches … resulted in the task force seizing 4,718 medical patient files, and 1,500 additional files for medical marijuana patients…

Does the DEA realize that these pain patients cannot find another doctor without their freaking medical records? (As if they’re going to be able to find another doctor anyway.) Where are these records now? Is the DEA following HIPAA rules while working with them? Will each of these patient’s records now come with warnings:  Treated by a doctor arrested by the DEA. Drug addict.

Where will over 6,000 patients find another doctor willing to treat them? The State of Montana should be prepared for a rise in heroin use and overdoses, new cases of patients suffering from addiction, and suicides.

Citizens of Montana, don’t blame drugs for the additional medical problems and deaths you will be seeing in your family members — blame the DEA.