This is a reply to a political post a respected member of the chronic pain community posted on my social media page last week. Identifying info has been removed.
Letter to one of my hero’s:
Thank you for taking taking the time to post a political link on my page! The chronic pain community doesn’t have many hero’s, I am happy you are here!
I have followed your story with great interest over the last five years. As a chronic pain patient, I was incensed when your State Medical Board went after your medical license for treating chronic pain with opioids. I was delighted when you were victorious in your fight against them a few years later. It turned you into a hero in our community. Your vocal advocacy for Cannabis as a treatment option turned you into a living legend. There isn’t anyone I respect more than you in the medical world. You fought the system and lived to tell about it.
That’s what makes this reply so difficult. You are one of my hero’s! I really hate conflict, too! Which is ironic considering I’m run for an office in one of the most contentious places in political history.
Our current crisis highlights the ongoing incompetence at the CDC that we’ve known about for years. The CDC’s opioid guidelines were weaponized by big insurance and state agencies just like we predicted. Those guidelines are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of chronic pain patients and the ongoing misery of millions.
It is no surprise they dropped the ball on this pandemic. The CDC has been dropping the ball for over a decade. This current failure comes after the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) outbreak, the 2012 MERS outbreak, the 2013 Ebola outbreak, the 2018 Ebola outbreak and the 2019 Measles outbreak resulted in the deaths of at least 171,000 people.
Even after a string of pandemics to serve as a warning over the past eleven years, the CDC and other government agencies lacked the forethought to prepare, to stockpile basic protective gear for health care providers. They dropped the ball again.
Finally, after five years of hard work trying to bring attention to the problems at the CDC, to point out the misery their opioid guidelines continue to cause, guidelines that were created in secret and based on half-truths. The eyes of the country are finally being opened to the ongoing arrogance, ignorance and incompetence at the CDC.
Now is the time to bring up the fact that our healthcare system kills 700,000 people a year between medical mistakes, healthcare acquired infections and adverse drug reactions - mostly due to bad regulations and policies. 7 Million deaths over a decade, as devastating as the Holocaust! It’s the full blown epidemic that’s been going on for decades that nobody is told about.
We are finally in a position to push for changes of leadership and policy. Changes that will improve the lives of millions....
And what are you doing?
Lobbing half-truth bombs at the current president.
It took me a few days to zero in on why I was frustrated with you. It’s the half-truth game the left is playing now. It’s the same half-truth game the State Medical Board played with you, based on those fraudulent half-truth guidelines from the CDC. It almost cost you your ability to practice. Now you’re playing the half-truth partisan game. Squandering your platform.
Chronic pain patients have been forced to live with half-truth based rules for a decade. It’s killing us. Half-truth policies almost killed me. Half-truths lead to hopelessness. Hopeless lives are hard to live. We don’t have time for half-truths.
You have a huge following from the chronic pain community. I think a third of them will love the partisan politics, a third will hate it and the rest will just be disappointed that you wasted your platform chasing a temporary politician with half-truths when you could have advocated for real policy change. They hate the half-truth game and will move on to someone else advocating for real change.
I could spend all my time pointing out that our current terrible policies were created and expanded under the last administration. But doing so would only create division when we need unity. I might score some political points, but at what price? Partisan politics won’t change policy and doesn’t help the patient.
I saw a post this morning in one of our support groups that another member, a chronic pain patient, committed suicide last night due to untreated pain. Her medical treatment was deemed non essential during this pandemic. It was her 53rd birthday.
I see posts like that everyday now. I doubt they cared about party politics. This ongoing holocaust of suicides in the chronic pain community will continue unabated if bad policies are allowed to remain in place!
I firmly support your right to do what you want! Pursue this president all you want. The two of you a lot in common - you don’t give up, you don’t back down, and you don’t take crap from anyone. These are qualities I admire in both of you.
I’m just telling you nothing will improve for patients until serious changes are made with government agencies and bad policies are reformed. Let’s not waste our platform on partisan politics, let’s not burn bridges that patients need. It won’t matter who the president is if chronic pain patients can’t get treatment.
Like many in the chronic pain community, I have advocated for change from the outside for years, dragged myself to numerous meetings in Nashville and Washington, met with numerous politicians from all sides. It hasn’t changed a thing.
Someone has to fight for change from the inside. That’s my mission now. I really hope you’ll join me in fighting for patients! Unified support from the chronic pain community can lead to real change! Let’s fix this!
Kent Morrell for U.S. Senate
State of Tennessee
Life ~ Liberty