Progressives, such as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s “Doctors for Obama” outfit, now called Center for American Progress dba Doctors for America, complain loudly about Florida’s gun gag law that prevents doctors from asking patients if they have a gun at home. It is terrible when a politician comes between doctor and patient they decry.
It is telling however that everyone is deathly quiet about Governor Baker coming between doctor and patient when discussing management of chronic pain. Just as Boston Children’s Hospital declared that mitochondrial disease does not exist, Governor Baker and friends have declared that chronic pain does not exist.
Last month a former patient of mine had the misfortune of being referred to the Brockton Hospital pain clinic as a result of her own doctor retiring. The patient had been in a massive motorcycle accident that involved her husband and their Harley flying through the air and both breaking various bones. This was many years ago and both have been on a stable regimen of pain medicine ever since to remain fully employed, proudly independent and never a burden on the tax payer, unlike certain Cambridge Rindge & Latin families.
The visit began with the doctor asking her how long she had taken drugs. The patient replied quietly that she has taken only prescribed medicines and has been fully compliant all along. The doctor then asked if her husband was also on drugs. The patient replied that he was on prescribed medicines and had been with the same doctor for many years.
The doctor then enquired if the patient had any children. The patient answered that she has two grown sons. Are they on drugs too asked the doctor. My sons do not take any medicines said the patient, still patiently.
Where are your sons asked the doctor next. The older one is at Bridgewater State, began the patient. “You mean in prison?!” interrupted the doctor. The patient patiently explained he was in college and doing well and what did any of this have to do with her health?
“Governor Baker has made very clear that doctors should not prescribe opioids and I shall not.” he said. “ We in the Brockton Hospital pain center do not give pain medications. What I will do is give you a one-month supply at half of your usual dose and from the end of the month you will be drug-free!”
The patient naturally enquired why the Brockton Hospital pain center even existed.
We do injections in the back was the reply.
His Excellency Governor Baker should give the doctors of the Brockton Hospital pain clinic an award for being so respectful of his wishes, so politically correct.
Having lived under communism I personally remember doctors being similarly respectful of policy decisions from up top. Generations of doctors asked themselves, “Am I harmonized with the High Command? Am I politically correct?” Doctors at my hospital also complied with the Party’s desire to kill a dissident by withholding his insulin, locking the door and waiting for coma.
They were very politically correct.
This compliance with the collective against the interest of the individual patient led to whole generations correctly suspecting doctors and avoiding them when at all possible. Progressive East Europe has no equivalent to Norman Rockwell’s country doctor any more. They all got thrown into the gulag, like Dr Mikhail Stern.
Personally I found the individual professionalism of doctors in the United States a refreshing change when I moved here 20 years ago but clearly that is not politically correct anymore. As government comes in more between doctor and patient, only the politically correct doctor can safeguard the mortgage payments.
Given that the office of Governor Baker has actively supported the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine’s efforts to drive honest professionals out of medicine, it is assured that a doctor who does not readily swear allegiance to Governor Baker’s wishes will have his/her license pulled swiftly. No wonder doctors loudly declare to patients their fealty to His Excellency’s policy.
I had written here previously about Governor Baker’s opioid task force working to stop hospitals from asking patients if their pain had been treated after surgery. He has now been joined in this push to repeal established pain management guidelines.
By doing so we shall establish victory over fentanyl overdoses in restaurant bathrooms and heroin shall become too expensive to purchase.
If this strikes you as being as absurd as persecuting Prof. Vavilov in favor of Lysenko, that is because it is. Once again pseudo-science has gained the upper hand.
Then again, this is Massachusetts. Nothing better may be expected.
Bharani Padmanabhan MD PhD is a neurologist who specializes in multiple sclerosis in the Boston area. firstname.lastname@example.org