Social and Political Commentary

All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of others or the organization as a whole.


 ... and medication

by Russ Priestley

Having been a recent trauma case following an automobile accident and rushed by ambulance to Mass General Hospital, I would like to relate the details, not about me but about the dedication of the medical profession. Mass General is one of our nation's best hospitals and they employ people of all nationalities. The one trait they all possess is dedication to their job and their patients. After numerous x-rays and a Cat scan, it was revealed I had three fractured cervical vertebrae. I was taken to a bed in the section of the hospital that specializes in orthopedic cases. My roommate had a broken arm and constant complaints. I was tempted to tell him to quit complaining, I had a broken neck. On the pain scale of one to ten, I was a constant ten.

On advice from the doctors, the nurses began to try to make me as comfortable as possible with intravenous feedings and injections. The nurses work 12 hour shifts and each is assigned several patients. This keeps them on their feet almost all of the time, except when sitting at a computer station entering records of each patient's progress. The constant positive attitude of every nurse is a big factor in the progress and recovery of each patient. When that patient recovers enough to be discharged, the process starts all over again with a new patient and the job dedication resumes. All of us should be thankful to those who are dedicated to this worthy profession.

When I was discharged after six days it was only for a period of several x-rays and visits to an orthopedist. Dr. Frank Pedlow of the Boston Orthopedics and Spinal Surgery studied my case. After a period of several x-rays, he noted a forward tilt to my head and he recommended an operation before the vertebrae fused together and made that tilt permanent.

On December 16, I was to report at 6 a.m. for an 8 a.m. operation on the front of my neck. Dr. Pedlow and his associates performed a three-hour operation and inserted a titanium brace on the vertebrae and secured them with three screws, even using a piece of bone from a cadaver to fix a missing chip. Two days later I was to be discharged and here is where the job dedication of other professionals became apparent. If you think doctors work from 9 to 5, forget it. Before 7:30 a.m. I was visited by Doctors Pedlow and Soong and Nurse Practitioner Courtney Finnegan. Each came alone to check on my condition. All were making their hospital rounds before going to the office.

Now my two cents worth of comment on medication. I have been taking pain killer medication since November 1 and it is now the 29th of December as I write this. I suppose a new ruling was due to so many drug store robberies of Oxycontin, but a doctor, even though he has a private number to use when calling a pharmacy, is no longer able to call a pharmacy and order for you any drug containing narcotics. You, some member of your family or even a friend must go to the doctor's office to pick up the prescription then go to the pharmacy to have the prescription filled. I fail to see how this stupid method is going to stop anyone from robbing a pharmacy. I would say that the Food and Drug Administration has taken over the medical profession.

January 2, 2004

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