The following letter was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

I am a long-term patient of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and suffer chronic low back pain. I write to protest in the strongest possible terms, your policy (spoken or otherwise conveyed to hospital medical personnel) of sever limitation and/or outright refusal to allow the prescribing of even low-dose opioids to patients who suffer chronic pain, have no history of abuse and, based on prior experience, know that this therapy works. While I applaud your efforts to help eliminate the very real problem of opioid abuse, I believe this policy to be flawed.

Chronic pain of the type I suffer is not simple a place that hurts. Is it that, but it is also mentally debilitating, energy sapping and turns basic household tasks not into satisfying accomplishments, but pain generators and thus to be avoided as much as possible.

Since the MRI verified pain I suffer does not rise to the level of surgical correction, and I can no longer obtain the low-dose opioid, which I know to be effective, I have turned to other therapies. These include physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, yoga and spinal injection. All of which are expensive, time consuming and have produced little or no lasting improvement. Analgesics, favored by Partners Healthcare, are not an option as the medicine I take to control colitis NSAIDS.

Therefore, I respectfully urge you to modify your blanket policy to more accurately reflect patient conditions and allow those of us with a legitimate need to get the low-dose medication which is effective and inexpensive and thereby allow us to return to a relatively pain-free, productive life.

William McConnell
Vineyard Haven