Hello Friend,

My name is Dr. Gregg Chapman.  I am 61 years of age and employed as an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University.  Six years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.  While Crohn's can usually be controlled by careful diet for a time, it is a progressive disease of the auto-immune system.  During a "flair", the pain can be excruciating.  For two years, I was in a pain management program for palliative care patients.  This program was gracious enough to include patients that were not terminally ill.  I was kept comfortable for the first time since my diagnosis and was able to complete my PhD.  Last April, that all changed.  State legislation form Governor Kasich and the Opioid Action Team limited ongoing treatment to patients who were terminally ill.  I was told I could not continue in the program and weaned off of opioids over a 3-month period.  Although I was uncomfortable, the pain was not insurmountable until my next Crohn's crisis which began in early September of 2017.

At the onset, I visited Emergency facilities for nausea, vomiting, and acute abdominal pain.  Eventually, I was admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, I was admitted to Internal Medicine since Gastroenterologists are "consulting" physicians at the OSU Medical Center.  Having been admitted before, I was shocked that a weak, non-narcotic pain medication was ordered.  During my 3-day stay, I eventually convinced the house staff to order opioid medication, but was informed that I would NOT receive any narcotic pain medication when released.  They insisted on trying anti-depressants, which I have tried in the past with poor results, but upon my release, even neglected to order those.  When I brought this to their attention, they ordered a medication that I had tried in the past. I had already discussed trying an alternative with the attending physician.  This was never resolved.

After an agonizing 3-day period at home, with the Crohn's symptoms getting worse, I was advised to return to the hospital by Gastroenterology.  In the ER, I was not given pain medication.  I was to be admitted to the same attending physician and was informed by her staff that I would NOT receive any pain medication (opioid) either as an INPATIENT or OUTPATIENT.  When I inquired as to why, I was told that they are potentially addictive.  This, being a highly unusual response for a Crohn's patient with acute abdominal pain, caused me to contact the Patient Advocate for the institution (By the way, all hospitals have Patient Advocates, a fact that few patients know).  My request to the Patient Advocate was to find out WHY I was being refused pain medication.  Uncharacteristically for these personnel, she said that there was nothing that she could do, and that it was up to the nurse in charge to oversee the issue.  She then left.  The nurse in charge never discussed the situation with me.  I was told that the attending physician wished to speak with me, but after 3 hours she had not arrived.  I left the facility in search of better health care.  At another hospital, I was given IV steroids and narcotic pain medication.  I also received 2 days of homegoing medication for pain (opioid).

Without a Pain Management doctor, my only recourse for the next two weeks was repeated return to the ER.  After 2 or 3 visits, they said, sorry but we cannot treat you for chronic pain. (See below for an explanation).

I was also referred to a Pain Management specialist that I must wait 3 more weeks to see.  On steroids, I am slowly improving, but experience significant pain from time to time.  I should also note that the Primary Care Physician that I have now dismissed, refuses to medicate anyone with opioids because of the liability with the State of Ohio that such action would cause.

The OSU Medical Center has limited the use of opioids far beyond the requirements of the current laws in the State of Ohio.  They have cancelled all their Pain Management programs with the exception of Palliative Care, and limited the latter to patients who are terminally ill. 

 

Having read most of the recent legislation regarding the use of opioids by prescribing physicians, I have found that MOST of the pain and suffering that I recently experienced is the direct result of these new laws. Ohio Senate Bill 119 provides a "guideline" for physicians treating patients with chronic pain, but this only explains limitations to physicians.  It does NOT explain how the physician should  treat chronic pain.

More recently, I was seen twice in an OhioHealth ER and denied homegoing medications, once for Crohn's and once for gout,  based on the fact that my "score" was too high in the OARRS (Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System),  prescription tracking system run by the State of Ohio that accumulates your data for the past 3 years.  I assume that they mean the ACME score (Active Cummulative Morphine Equivalent).  This was a lie and an excuse since I have no active pescriptions.  The physician  just didn't like my 3 year history which included Palliative Care.

I am sure that my experience is not unique.  I am a productive law-abiding citizen.  During this time, I have considered both suicide, and acquiring drugs illegally.  In the final analysis, I have chosen to reject those thoughts, and advocate for others who must be experiencing the same thing or worse. 

 

Please share your story, as I will attempt to meet with Governor Kasich after the petition reaches 5000 signatures.  Anything that you can do to give this site, and the petition, more visibility would be greatly appreciated.  I do NOT want any financial support at this time.  If, however, this fight results in legal costs, I will take that into consideration.