Pain Care Provider Day 2015

With appreciation for the thousands of caring pain care providers who protect the dignity of the provider patient relationship and work together with their patients to achieve health goals, the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) is a proud partner of Pain Care Providers Day March 20th.  The NFMCPA invites you to write a note or somehow let your doctor know how much you appreciate her/his tender and professional skills in the face of increased scrutiny over how they practice medicine.

A special note of appreciation to Dr. Pat Murphy of Louisville, Kentucky for representing the many exemplary pain care providers around the world.  (http://jamespmurphymd.com/about/)

An excerpt from "Why I Treat Pain" in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE magazine, Spring 2015:

(The NFMCPA asked guest author Dr. James Patrick “Pat” Murphy for permission to reprint his poignant blog published January 22, 2015 at http://jamespmurphymd.com/2015/01/22/proclaim-pain-care-providers-day/)

Why Do I Treat Chronic Pain?

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.

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 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.

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

Thank you. I’m feeling stronger already.

Dr. Pat Murphy

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