Proclaim Pain Care Providers Day!

pcpd at courthouse

Another headline today. Another physician indicted. I read the phrase “faces life imprisonment” and it pierces my suddenly fragile psyche like a spinal needle. My resolve threatens to hemorrhage, figuratively but painfully, leaving me wondering why I do this. Why do I treat chronic pain?

doc charged

I’ve seen headlines like this too often. But I know the doctor in the headline this time. We work in the same hospital. And though I do not know details, I know him to be a solo practitioner willing to embrace suffering people, many of whom are among the most marginalized, downtrodden, and castoff. I hope and pray that truth and justice will prevail. But my confidence is fragile.

Yesterday, my fifteen-year-old son and I were driving in the car, and he asked about this doctor because it was “all over the news.” My son knows what I do for a living. He’s heard me lament about how frightening the heavy hand of regulatory oversight by non-medical types can be for us medical types. I can only imagine how news of another pain specialist facing life in prison must make him feel – how it must make my wife feel, my other children, my parents, my friends, my employees, my patients…all those who depend on me, care about me, love me.

But I don’t dare go into the deep dark honest place in my heart to ask how it makes me feel. I can’t. I have work to do.

I have “Mama P” in my exam room right now. Despite the indescribably painful metastatic cancer that has invaded her spine, she manages a warm smile, offers me her outstretched trembling arms, and we embrace. She is here and she needs me. And as my moist tears well up, I realize that, today, I need her. And I know, again, why I do this.

And I know what we must do to make sure that she and every other suffering soul has hope. We must let pain care providers feel our powerful and uplifting embrace – the embrace of the fragile people they serve – because, in reality, we are all fragile suffering souls. We all need each other.

m hug

Let’s do this.

Let’s start right now.

Let’s make PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY happen.

npcpd hands screen

Pain Care Providers Day is March 20, 2015, the first day of spring. It will be a day to recognize our caregivers from all walks of life who do what they can to ease the pain of others.

Ways to make this day special might include dropping off a nice thank you note for your therapist, baking some cookies for the clinic staff, sending flowers to the person who schedules your appointments, blogging, or writing a letter to the editor in support of better access to effective pain care for all. Unleash your creativity and spread the message.

A powerful way to raise awareness is by asking your friendly neighborhood municipal leader to officially proclaim March 20, 2015 as Pain Care Providers Day.

A proclamation is a formal public declaration often written by government officials to commend individuals or to raise awareness of upcoming events, celebrations, and issues of significance.

the med school ap

Pain Care Providers Day is a prime opportunity for us to secure proclamations honoring our caregivers from all walks of life who labor, often under duress, to alleviate suffering in our communities.

Here’s how it can be done…

  1. Identify the best person/office to approach for the proclamation, such as: city leaders, state representatives and/or members of congress.
  2. Contact the offices to request a proclamation.
  3. View official websites for instructions on how to submit a formal request; a form may be available for online submission.
  4. Use the draft proclamation language below as a guide for submission with the understanding that the final language may change to conform to standard protocols.
  5. If possible, meet with the official for the signing of the proclamation. Take a photograph and obtain permission to use the photograph to further increase awareness of Pain Care Providers Day.

PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY
We can’t just want it to happen.
We have to make it happen.

pcpd screen

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DRAFT

PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY PROCLAMATION

*

WHEREAS, PAIN is a universal feeling, which for millions becomes chronic, impacting every facet of life; and affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined; and is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system; and
(Ref: 1, 2; see comments section)

WHEREAS, there exist regulatory, legal, institutional, financial, educational, and geographical barriers that impede access to pain care; barriers that contribute to increased suffering along with feelings of despair, futility and shame on the part of people with pain; and
(Ref: 3, 4, 5)

WHEREAS, in the face of this national pain epidemic there is less than one board-certified pain specialist for every twenty thousand pain sufferers; and these pain specialists are subject to tremendous stressors, leading to a high rate of professional burnout, interpersonal difficulties, suicidal tendencies, and even life-threatening physical harm; and
(Ref: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

WHEREAS, because of the shortage of pain specialists, the vast majority of our nation’s pain care must remain the duty of a vast array of dedicated but increasingly anxious medical professionals, kindhearted laypersons, and overburdened loved ones who bravely and compassionately persevere in treating pain as best they can;
(Ref: 7)

NOW, THEREFORE, I, [name, title], do hereby proclaim March 20, 2015, the first day of spring, as PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY throughout [city or state name] and encourage our citizens to recognize all who professionally, clinically or emotionally offer more than their expertise -that is, they offer their hearts- and therefore are deserving of our gratitude, encouragement, and support so that they might carry on, empowered to provide care and comfort to those suffering.

*

 

Please use social media to the fullest extent and tweet with the hashtag #WhyPCPD

&

If you want to connect personally with me about Pain Care Providers Day, I can be reached at: paincareprovidersday@gmail.com

Thank you. I’m feeling stronger already.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 5.16.29 PM

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Please check out the Pain Care Providers Day Facebook page.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.02.31 PM

https://www.facebook.com/PainCareProvidersDay

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.43.06 PM

US Pain Foundation has a sample proclamation available for easy download at:

http://goo.gl/qPsfCL

 

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11 thoughts on “Proclaim Pain Care Providers Day!

  1. Pingback: Proclaim Pain Care Providers Day | Dr. Jeffrey Fudin

  2. REFERENCES:

    1. Pain Med. 2010 Oct;11(10):1447-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.00961.x.
    The First National Pain Medicine Summit–final summary report.
    Lippe PM1, Brock C, David J, Crossno R, Gitlow S.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21199301

    2. Fact Sheet: Pain Management. National Institutes of Health
    http://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/Pdfs/PainManagement(NINR).pdf

    3. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Institute of Medicine; June 2011
    http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2011/Relieving-Pain-in-America-A-Blueprint-for-Transforming-Prevention-Care-Education-Research/Pain%20Research%202011%20Report%20Brief.pdf

    4. Silent Pain Sufferers. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. February 2006 Volume 81, Issue 2, Pages 167–171.
    http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61665-0/abstract

    5. How the War on Rx-Drugs Victimized Pain Patients. Pain-Topics News. Wednesday, June 20, 2012.
    http://updates.pain-topics.org/2012/06/how-war-on-rx-drugs-victimizes-pain.html

    6. Chronic Pain in America: Consequences, Addiction and Treatment. Hazelden Betty Ford pain and addiction report, 10.14.14
    http://www.bettyfordcenter.org/uploaded-assets/pdfs/painandaddictionreportfinal101414.pdf

    7. Who Really Treats Chronic Pain? The Necessity of Pain Management in Family Practice: By Michael E. Schatman, PhD, CPE | Health Care Professionals Network: April 21, 2014
    http://www.hcplive.com/publications/family-practice-recertification/2014/April2014/Who-Really-Treats-Chronic-Pain-The-Necessity-of-Pain-Management-in-Family-Practice

    8. Pain Specialists Show Increasing Burnout. Pain Medicine News
    ISSUE: NOVEMBER 2014 | VOLUME: 12(11)
    http://www.painmedicinenews.com/ViewArticle.aspx?d=Policy%2B%26%2BManagement&d_id=83&i=November+2014&i_id=1120&a_id=28644

    9. A killing in Kentucky, How the shooting of one rural physician threatens thousands of patients: March 05, 2010, By Gregory A. Hood, MD, FACP
    http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/killing-kentucky?page=full

    10. An epidemic of chronic pain, by Judy Foreman DECEMBER 08, 2013 The Boston Globe. http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2013/12/08/crackdown-prescription-drug-abuse-treats-wrong-problem/Sj3FrZvDKeaMOykCHSswjK/story.html

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    PA Week Proclamation template:
    http://paconnect.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Proclamation-And-Template.pdf

    National Pain Care Providers Day (blog article on Confluential Truth)
    https://jamespmurphymd.com/2014/08/26/national-pain-care-providers-day

    • Original language posted on January 22, 2015 included these passages…

      Another headline today. Another physician indicted. I read the phrase “faces life imprisonment” and it pierces my suddenly fragile psyche like a spinal needle. My resolve threatens to hemorrhage, figuratively but painfully, leaving me wondering why I do this. Why do I treat chronic pain?

      I’ve seen headlines like this too often. But I know the doctor in the headline this time. We work in the same hospital. And though I do not know details, I do know that he does not dole out handfuls of pills for cash. He is not getting rich on Medicaid. He is merely a solo practitioner willing to embrace suffering people, many of whom are among the most marginalized, downtrodden, and castoff in our economically blighted community. I hope and pray that truth and justice will prevail. But my confidence is fragile.

      Yesterday, my fifteen-year-old son and I were driving in the car, and he asked about this doctor because it was “all over the news.” My son knows what I do for a living. He’s heard me lament about how frightening the heavy hand of regulatory oversight by non-medical types can be for us medical-types. I can only imagine how news of another pain specialist facing life in prison must make him feel – how it must make my wife feel, my other children, my parents, my friends, my employees, my patients…all those who depend on me, care about me, love me.
      But I don’t dare go into the deep dark honest place in my heart to ask how it makes me feel. I can’t. I have work to do.

      I have “Mama P” in my exam room right now. Despite the indescribably painful metastatic cancer that has invaded her spine, she manages a warm smile, offers me her outstretched trembling arms, and we embrace. She is here and she needs me. And as my moist tears well up, I realize that, today, I need her. And I know, again, why I do this.

      And I know what we must do to make sure that she and every other suffering soul has hope. We must let pain care providers feel our powerful and uplifting embrace – the embrace of the fragile people they serve – because, in reality, we are all fragile suffering souls. We all need each other.

  3. #WhyPCPD Tweets
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  4. Review of the movie “Cake”
    January 24, 2015

    I saw the movie “Cake” tonight. I felt it was my duty. I am, after all, a pain specialist.

    I’d read that it was gritty, honest, and accurate, and that Jennifer Aniston was very convincing. I found all that to be true.

    It’s the show’s first weekend in Louisville theatres, and the crowd at this 5:30 pm showing was decidedly mature, reverently attentive, and noticeably equipped with more walkers and canes than I’m accustomed to seeing at the cinemas. I almost felt like I was in a pain support group. Perhaps in a way, I was.

    I went in expecting to not like the movie. And if it had been a movie just about chronic pain, then I might not have been won over. However, “Cake” is not so much a story about chronic pain as it is a story about dealing with loss.

    Claire, played by Ms. Aniston, initially comes across as an angry, bitchy, sarcastic, and self-centered woman, who clearly has legitimate pain and the scars to prove it. But as the story unfolds and it is gradually revealed to us the degree to which Claire’s life has been altered by tragedy, a sad empathy takes root.

    It’s not that Claire doesn’t have people in her life who care about her. On the contrary, is seems that everyone in her life is trying to help her. In fact, I wouldn’t say there is a real villain in the story. Claire is struggling to climb a mountain. And we, like the people in Claire’s life, feel powerless to help. So we just watch, hoping she can hand on and have some sort of epiphany.

    Where the movie begins, Claire is several months removed from the tragic event that caused her life-changing pain and loss. She is clearly living the chronic pain existence: from her pleasant but over-booked doctor, to the impersonal waiting rooms where she winces as her number is called instead of her name, to the group therapy from which she is “fired,” to her continuous pre-occupation with obtaining pain pills – often times via demeaning and risky methods.

    As a pain physician, I felt myself wanting to treat her – wanting to provide for her a regimen that was not insulting, dehumanizing, or uncaring. And I hope all health care providers who see this movie are moved in such a way that they see their patients as people who, more than pain, are grieving over what they have lost: autonomy, freedom, happiness, self.

    And despite the script’s inclusion of so many themes common in the lives of patients with chronic pain, I hope that those people in the audience who were there with their canes and walkers understand that this movie is only about one person’s journey – not theirs. We all suffer loss. We all have pain. We all have a journey. And the journey is specific to the individual. There are no villains, but there are mountains to climb.

    I thought it was a very good movie for general audiences -and a great movie for pain patients and pain care providers. My advice: just make sure you allow yourself some time to process it afterwards. Then you might find it really was a pain support group after all.

    – James Patrick Murphy, MD

  5. An open letter to: Judith VanGilder, Executive Assistant
    Mayor’s Office
    City of Jeffersonville, Indiana

    Sent via email on February 24, 2015

    Dear Judith,

    As a chronic pain management specialist I deal with many people who feel hopeless. However, I feel blessed to be in a position to offer hope by caring for their pain at my office on the Clark Memorial Hospital campus.

    I am asking Mayor Moore to join Mayor Fischer of Louisville in proclaiming March 20th as “Pain Care Providers Day” in Jeffersonville. March 20, 2015 is the first day of spring, a day of renewal and a day of hope. It is also a day when the darkness is equal to the light – the equinox – and represents a tipping point. We can choose to take back our pain care from the various parties who take advantage of the despondent and choose to empower those who do it right.

    Pain Care Providers Day is a day to celebrate and bolster our caregivers, the ones who persevere and treat pain safely, effectively, lawfully, and humanely.

    The good people of Jeffersonville have already stood up to the “pill mills” and, with the leadership of Senator Grooms, got Indiana to finally pass effective pain management regulations.

    Now, I’m asking Jeffersonville to complete the loop and go beyond eradicating bad medicine… to promoting good medicine.

    Pain Care Providers Day is quickly becoming a national movement.

    On behalf of my colleagues, my patients, my family, my friends, and myself I request that Jeffersonville, Indiana show the rest of state and our nation that we care about those who suffer and support those who alleviate suffering by proclaiming March 20, 2015 as Pain Care Providers Day.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime to continue this discussion.

    With sincere appreciation,
    James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM

  6. Pain Care Providers Day
    Proclamation for March 20th

    Prepared in collaboration with U.S. Pain Foundation and James Patrick Murphy, MD, MMM

    WHEREAS, pain negatively impacts almost every aspect of a person’s life including the ability to work, sleep and engage in social activities as well as adversely impacts pain sufferer’s families and caregivers

    WHEREAS, the Institute of Medicine has found that 100 million Americans live with chronic pain as a result of serious illnesses and injuries

    WHEREAS, the U.S. Pain Foundation’s mission is to inform, empower and advocate on behalf of the organization’s over 35,000 members throughout the country and all those who live with chronic pain

    WHEREAS, there exists formidable barriers -including regulatory, legal, institutional, financial, and geographical barriers – that impede access to pain care, contributing to increased obstacles emotionally, physically and mentally among pain survivors

    WHEREAS, in the face of a national pain epidemic there is, on average, only one board-certified pain specialist for every 21,000 pain sufferers and these specialists are subject to tremendous stressors leading to a high rate of exhaustion, placing them at risk for substance abuse, interpersonal difficulties, suicidal tendencies, and even life-threatening physical harm

    WHEREAS, the shortage of pain specialists often leads to a wide variety of professionals, caregivers and loved ones to address the pain epidemic and duties usually carried out by pain specialists

    WHEREAS, those professionals, caregivers and loved ones professionals, caregivers and loved ones bravely and compassionately offer more than their expertise, that is, they offer their hearts and therefore are deserving of gratitude, encouragement, and support so that they might carry on, empowered to provide this vital service to our society.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, [name, title], do hereby proclaim March 20, 2015, the first day of spring, as PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY throughout [city or state name] and encourage all of our citizens to recognize any and all who professionally, clinically or emotionally offer themselves to ease the suffering and empower those within the pain community.

    IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great seal of the [town, city or state].

    • From U.S. Pain Foundation email on February 26, 2015:
      *

      To our fellow pain warriors,

      U.S. Pain Foundation is proud to announce its partnership with Dr. James P. Murphy in a collaboration to bring his vision to a reality: recognizing those who have assisted us during and throughout our pain journey.

      Dr. Murphy is Kentucky’s first physician to achieve board-certification in Pain Management and certification in Addiction Medicine; he’s also the first and only Kentucky physician to be honored by selection for the Mayday Fellowship-advocating for pain care concerns.

      WHAT IS PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY:
      Set to be celebrated for the first time on March 20th, 2015, it’s no coincidence that Dr. Murphy has selected the first day of spring as it symbolizes a new beginning and the embracing of positive change. It will be a day to recognize our caregivers from all walks of life who do what they can to ease the pain of others.

      HOW TO BECOME INVOLVED:
      A powerful way to raise awareness is by asking your friendly neighborhood municipal leader to officially proclaim March 20, 2015 as Pain Care Providers Day. A proclamation template has been attached to this email for you to print and submit to your local governing leaders. You will want to follow the steps below as soon as possible to secure the date and designation.

      HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR PROCLAMATION TO DESIGNATE MARCH 20TH AS
      PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY:
      Identify the best person/office to approach for the proclamation, such as: Mayor/Town Council Chair/First Selectman at the local level.

      Contact that office to ask how citizen’s can request a proclamation be submitted for discussion and approval.

      Follow the instructions given by that office; a form may be available for online submission. You would then copy and paste the proclamation or send it as an attachment. Please see the U.S. Pain Foundation’s main office address (step 6) and use that address as the place where the proclamation should be sent to. You may wish to explain that you are a Pain Ambassador for U.S. Pain Foundation, a national nonprofit organization which advocates, educates, raises awareness and empowers those for and within the pain community.

      Use the draft proclamation language that has been sent to you as an attachment to this email as the document for submission with the understanding that the final language may be altered by local officials to conform to standard protocols.

      Ask how you will be notified of the approval of the proclamation (may be posted on your municipal governing body’s upcoming meeting agenda or they may call you to invite you to the signing of the proclamation). If possible, meet with the official(s) for the signing of the proclamation. Take a photograph of the event and send to: ambassadordirector@gmail.com
      This way, U.S. Pain may share your accomplishment in raising awareness.

      Request that the proclamation be mailed to the U.S. Pain Foundation’s main office (670 Newfield Street, Suite B, Middletown, CT 06457) or if you have obtained the proclamation, please mail it in so that the organization may display the approved proclamation during awareness events and for visitors to view while at the office.

      If you have ANY questions as to how to submit your proclamation, please feel free to send me an email. If you are submitting, please let me know so that we may keep track of each pain ambassador’s process so that we may work on our approach and plan for next year’s Pain Care Providers Day campaign. Thank you for your willingness to raise awareness for the pain community as well as taking the time to recognize those who have helped you learn to live with pain and not in pain.

      Best,
      Shaina
      PAIN CARE PROVIDERS DAY
      We can’t just want it to happen.
      We have to make it happen.


      Shaina Smith
      Director of Ambassadors & Advocates
      U.S. Pain Foundation Inc.
      670 Newfield Street, Suite B
      Middletown CT 06457
      Home Office: 860.315.7307 (Mon-Thurs)
      Main office: 800.910.2462
      Email: ambassadordirector@gmail.com

      http://www.uspainfoundation.org
      http://www.invisibleproject.org
      Facebook-US Pain Foundation Ambassadors Page

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