News Headlines Article

An ER Kicks the Habit of Opioids for Pain
The New York Times

Brenda Pitts sat stiffly in an emergency room cubicle, her face contorted by pain. An old shoulder injury was radiating fresh agony down to her elbow and up through her neck. She couldn’t turn her head. Her right arm had fallen slack.

Fast relief was a pill away — Percocet, an opioid painkiller — but Dr. Alexis LaPietra did not want to prescribe it. The drug, she explained to Mrs. Pitts, 75, might make her constipated and foggy, and could be addictive. Would Mrs. Pitts be willing to try something different?

Then the doctor massaged Mrs. Pitts’s neck, seeking the locus of a muscle spasm, apologizing as the patient groaned with raw, guttural ache and fear.

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