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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:06 pm 
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Oh my, what a couple of weeks i have been through!!! As i have written before in the end of my eighth month of pregnancy i moved from NJ to western PA. Since the move i have experienced so much negative judgement and attitude for my use of subutex. I never received this treatment in NJ. First of all i had been seeing a team of midwives who were awesome and compassionate, never treated me like a a "typical drug addict." They knew of my history of drug abuse and were aware of me taking subutex. I had a great psychiatrist and loved my local pharmacy. My pharmacist actually went out of his way one day to make me feel better by saying "dont worry about this a lot of people are prescribed this medication."

So where do I began with all this crap i have been through here? Well first i tried to get my subutex refilled and i had to call 8 or 9 different places because no one had it in stock and i had waited till the last day because i never thought (It never was) hard to get it same day. As soon as the person on the other end learned what medication i needed their attitude changed very quickly. One women didnt even look it up she apparently knew off the top of her head they didnt have it and practically hung up on me. Finally i found a place who could fill it partially and i took my mom with me to pick it up. The faces i got when they saw me huge and pregnant!!

The worst that has happened however was when i went for my first appointment with my new midwives. Let me just mention that this is one of the best women hospitals in the country. (it is in Pittsburgh ) First i met with a nurse who was very nice but she didnt read my chart, so i had to review my last 8/9 months of prenatal care with her. I was so open with her and extremely honest, looking back now maybe i went in too vulnerable. Then i met with one of the midwives. She obviously had a conversation with the nurse because she knew a little of my background. The whole appointment with her was centered around my past drug use. (Let me just take the time to say now that i was clean for almost a year before i even got pregnant.) She was rude, and didnt offer much eye contact. She asked me questions that i thought were inappropriate. For instance, she gave me a kind of dirty look and asked me if i had been tested for HIV because of using dirty needles. Yes, i have been tested, ummmm but I never used needles, dirty needles, and oh yeah I never have "shot up." Her assumption was very unprofessional. There were other comments and after i explained how long i have been clean and that im involved with a 12 step program she told me i needed to take a drug test for her.

The worst in my eyes that happened is what i saw on my chart when i got home. UPMC is the health care system out here they own everything. They have this online thing where a patient can access appointment information, test results, family history, basically everything about you, it a personal page that can be accessed by you or any health professional working for UPMC. Well in two places under sections of my diagnosis' and health summary they list key information someone would need to know about me and my pregnancy. Like it says my blood type and anemia antepartum. (antepartum i had to look up it means, the time during pregnancy, before birth.) Well, the very first thing on this list says, "Drug dependence antepartum." And you can click it and information comes up on opioid abuse and withdrawal. I was so angry because anyone who looks up my chart, information, will think i was an active addict during my pregnancy. I have enough going against me that do you think anyone would believe me if i tried to say what was in my chart was wrong??? But the most pressing concern is how are they going to treat my child. Unfortunately health professionals are not robots and when it comes to making decisions they are influenced by their own bias and judgements. So their ignorance and opinion ultimately affect how my child will be treated.

I took my mom on the next appointment. i had gone by myself before and my husband is still working in NJ. I ended up seeing the same midwife and i was able to express all my concerns. i then talked with her superior, who was very nice, however they still need to take that off my chart. She ultimately hooked me up with the nurse who runs the NICU and took a tour of the floor.

The absolutely most disturbing thing that happened is what i learned on that second visit. (no one told me on my first???) Because I am on 2 mgs of subutex when my child is born she will be held for a minimum 7 day mandatory stay in the NICU. I will be discharged and have to leave her there. When i come to visit i will be required to take drug tests before i can breastfeed. They will score my child and if she exhibits signs of withdrawal they will put her on a morphine drip.

I am so upset about this. The thought of leaving her there is devastating. They might ruin my chances of breastfeeding. Not to mention i cant take her anywhere we have to stay in the dark nursery and if i fall asleep they will kick me out. Also im not a dr but treating these babies with morphine doesnt make sense to me, they are two different classes of drugs. There definitely needs to be some reform in how babies born on subutex are treated. This is the policy everywhere in western PA. They even told me they know very little about the subutex, its like they are in a time warp out here. Dont get me wrong if my child does go through withdrawal i want her to have the best care, but this policy is so broad there is no difference in how they treat me (and my child) being on 2 mgs of subutex vs. a mother who is an active IV heroine drug user.

Im having the hardest time. Im away from my husband now going through these last weeks without him. im nervous to go through my first delivery. And i absolutely dont trust or feel comfortable with my health providers. It keeps me up at night knowing that this child that i have had inside me for all this time will be apart from me during her first week of life.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:51 pm 
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I am so sorry that you are being treated this way! Unfortunately, it's not uncommon. It seems most people aren't very knowledgeable about Sub, even medical professionals. So, their ignorance breeds prejudice sometimes.

I, too, was shocked when I recently found out my baby would be held in the NICU, since my doctors hadn't bothered to tell me. I had to research it myself to find out just last week! I'm 29 weeks pregnant and on 8mg of Subutex. I'm in Michigan and apparently at the hospital I'm going to, the baby is observed in NICU for 72 hours, but my doctor told me most babies end up going home with their moms and I shouldn't freak out about it. I'm trying.

I agree that there needs to be a set policy in place for babies born to mothers on Sub. It seems each hospital makes their own rules and they base it on their prior experience with other opiates, such as Heroin or Methadone.

I would be so fucking angry if my chart basically had 'drug addict' stamped on it like yours! After you spoke with them, are they going to take it off?

I wish you the best of luck. It's unfair to be treated this way while going through all the normal pressures of pregnancy you have and being away from your husband :(


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:20 pm 
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I am so sorry for you. Back East, it is very very drastically liberal progressive than out here in the west. It is actually downright wierd back east compared to out here. These same people who persecute you for being honest and having special needs are the same people who promote abortion. They will want to keep your child like he or she is being endangered some way but on the other contradictory side, they have no qualms about murdering babies in the womb. They are like servants of satan, evil, vile, full of uncleaness and wickedness.
If I were you, I would not even have my child there, but, that that is me. I hope and pray that you can find somebody who can help you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:55 am 
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I am truly sorry you are going through this. It is grossly unfair. I would continue to insist that they remove "drug use antepartum" from your chart, as it is an outright lie. What galls me about your situation, is that you gave THEM an education about what Sub is, and they turned on you. You need an advocate. You can try to contact Dr. J directly, but he has dozens of people trying to contact him every day. What about your providers back in NJ? Could you give them a call and ask them to speak to your current providers and set them straight?

In the meantime, continue to stay calm and professional (I know it's hard when you want to choke them!). Speak right up. If they accuse you of using dirty needles remind them that you have NEVER used needles. repeat yourself as many times as it takes. They should be ashamed of themselves. Addiction is a nationwide epidemic, and if they think they aren't going to deal with it in western PA they are sorely mistaken. You are breaking ground for the next pregnant Sub patient who walks through that door, so be proud of yourself!

There are a couple of other active members here who have successfully given birth on Sub. I'm sure you will be hearing from them soon. Hang in there. Don't let the ignorant people prevent you from enjoying what is a very special time in your life! Keep us posted.
Lilly


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
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