Dr. Gayle Woodson

A surgeon explains how opioid makers trick doctors into prescribing painkiller

My firstborn, Nick, arrived in 1982, with a full head of golden curls and bright blue eyes, an ounce shy of 10 pounds. I am not a large person, so he was delivered by caesarian section. My recovery was painful, but I turned down the Demerol. In medical school, I had learned that narcotics were powerful drugs with a risk of addiction and should be reserved for severe pain. Besides, I wanted to be alert and fully present during one of the happiest events of my life. Nurses strongly encouraged me to take the prescribed pain medication. They would say, “You shouldn’t wait for pain to become unbearable.” Or, “You won’t get up and around if you’re hurting.” They almost made me feel guilty for refusing meds. This new approach was orthogonal to everything I had been taught.

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