I work between our hospital's medical and surgical floors. The other night, I was assigned to work on the surgical floor. As I took on my usual patient load, I was awaiting the arrival of my last patient who was in surgery. He had an appendectomy and was recovering fine. When I asked if he was in pain he hesitantly said yes. Once I offered pain medication, he informed me that he was a recovering "drug addict" and he didn't think it was a good idea to receive a narcotic such as his prescribed morphine. I did some educating as far as explaining the difference between recreational usage and actually needing the medication for what it was intended for. But, I started to think that maybe I might be responsible if he was to slip into a relapse upon discharge. He proudly told me he had his 13 year anniversary coming up of being "drug-free", and of course I commended him on that accomplishment.
I am just wondering what others think about this situation? Withholding pain medication definitely falls under the patient neglect catagory. But, on the other hand, the patient verbalized a concern about becoming addicted very easily.
I did give the morphine, times three doses through the night. I personally felt that pain control was in the patient's best interest at the time, but on my way home from work I was heavily thinking about this patient's near future upon discharge.
Should I actually feel guilty about doing the "right thing" for my patient?
Last edit by Jory on Aug 28, '12
: Reason: duplicate