An ADA lawyer’s advice for chronic pain patients

Essentially, the doctors you speak of appear to be denying services based on your disability which necessitates that you be prescribed pain medication in accordance to medical evaluation and as consistent with any treatment deemed necessary by a given doctor or specialist. Whatever the reasons for these refusals to treat, doctors are liable under Title III of the ADA for failing to provide their services to patients based on any stigma or stereotype associated with anyone who has a condition that imposes chronic pain. Moreover, a doctor is likely violating ethical codes by refusing to treat a given patient when the doctor is licensed appropriately to treat as a general practitioner and/or specialist in a given area. Hence, they may decline to treat patients that require medical services from a different practice area. But they may not decline to treat patients inside their scope of practice and/or they may not decline to provide a helpful referral even if the condition is outside their area of practice.

I would recommend that you forward them this response and seek to obtain treatment so as to avoid filing complaints against these doctors under the ADA and other applicable laws…

I am available for questions.

Diego Demaya, J.D.
Southwest ADA Center
TIRR Memorial Hermann
1333 Moursund St.
Research Center 2nd Flr. Suite 212
Houston, Texas 77030
Toll Free: (800) 949-4232
Office: (713) 797-7114
Fax (713) 520-5785

Under comments:

Bob Schubring, on October 21, 2015 at 2:20 am said:

The Montana doctors who are being persecuted by the assistant AG, are powerless against him…but their patients have the right, under ADA, to sue his boss (the AG), and demand the right to be treated for pain. Moreover, they also have the right to demand payment from Montana, of their legal fees and costs, of asserting that right…

Yes, it’s true. The US Justice Department has an ADA office with the power, theoretically, to act. The difficulty anyone in that office will have, in bringing a case, is that the DEA constitutes a large percentage of the Justice Department’s payroll and budget. It’s going to be quite a trick, for the ADA lawyers to keep their jobs at the Justice Department, if they go up against the entrenched forces of the DEA and the Drug War lobby. This is a clear conflict of interest. Accordingly, anybody at the ADA office willing to help pain patients, needs all the help we patients can provide…

Seems to me that this advice would also work for medical cannabis patients. But what it will come down to is the question of which treatments have been proven effective — and approved by the FDA (and now the CDC). Of course, we all know about the flaws in allegedly evidence-based research, so I don’t know how either side will “prove” their beliefs. Considering the questionable ethics of the scientific and medical industries, perhaps we should start relying more on anecdotal evidence.

Another question will be who is considered a “legitimate” pain patient. Which painful medical conditions deserve treatment? Only cancer or terminal conditions?

Doctors will argue that evidence for treating long-term chronic pain with opioids (or cannabis) doesn’t exist, and will try to prove there’s more harm than benefit with these treatments (especially to the public). Doctors and parents will continue to tell stories of lives ruined by drug abuse and addiction, and shout, “It’s a crisis! It’s an epidemic! And it all started with (name any drug)!”

But there’s no evidence that other treatments for pain are successful, so as always, the question becomes:  What are the alternatives? There’s an abundance of evidence for the harms associated with all other treatment options besides opioids, so who’s going to dictate which treatments patients are allowed access to? It doesn’t make sense (and it won’t work) for government agencies, law enforcement, and the medical industry to make decisions for patients — we’re the ones suffering, not them.

2 thoughts on “An ADA lawyer’s advice for chronic pain patients

  1. People with pain are discriminated against, and many doctors are comfortable openly expressing their hatred and bigotry towards us in their blogs and even in the medical literature. There is an incredible and irrational animus in the medical profession towards people whose only “crime” is having pain and daring to request treatment for it. This is not only reserved for those falsely accused of being “drug-seeking scumbags” or “fakers looking to hit the lottery” but also those who are perceived to be too weak and lazy to deal with their pain like “real men” or their “hysterical” female counterparts. Sadly, many people in pain have bought into this mindset and blame alleged “drug-seekers” and “malingerers” for somehow making doctors ignorant and sadistic.

    Why no one has challenged this institutionalized bigotry on a civil rights level is a mystery. Some smart lawyer could make millions taking on the cases of people with pain who have been subjected to abuse or attacks against their honor and reputation. There are few people in pain who have not experienced the tort of “deliberate infliction of emotional distress” from Doctor Do-Little or Nurse Ratched. The problem is many lawyers out there hold the same reactionary views as doctors do, since it is their job to send those “drug-seekers” to jail while doctors only get to take a few cheap shots at them while they’re in the office.

    Nothing short of a patient-ledrevolt is going to change this.

    Liked by 2 people

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