December 19th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Pain doctor investigation

Dr. Lynn Webster is a pillar of the pain community. He's an anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist who's considered a leading expert on how to safely prescribe powerful painkillers. There is no clinical evidence that prescription painkillers are effective over the long term for chronic pain. But Dr. Webster has been preaching these powerful meds can be used for long term pain, provided it is done responsibly. It has come as a surprise to many that the Drug Enforcement Agency is investigating him and he's facing a string of lawsuits after the deaths of multiple patients. Despite all of this, Dr. Webster still has his prescription pad. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the story.

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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Howard Hoffberg, MD

    Dr. Webster is a respected advocate for pain management, and has advocated caution with respect to opioids for chronic pain. He recognizes the need to closely monitor patients and adequately document for analgesic efficacy, and functional restoration, balanced by the potential concerns for aberrant drug taking behaviors, misuse, abuse or diversion. This report is biased against pain management, and will result in many legitimate chronic pain patients loosing access to an effective and safe treatment. Otherwise these patients may resort to more self destructive behaviors (ie suicide) or desparation surgery or interventional care which may be ineffective, not scientifically proven, expensive and even result in a greater likelihood for higher medications or permanent complications. There are numerous other medical conditions that have not yet been conclusively proven by studies, where the "art of medicine" and treatments are primarily based on expert opinion and consensus. Each patient with chronic pain needs to be comprehensively assessed with individualized multi-modal treatments including medications.

    December 23, 2013 at 12:48 am |
  2. Hank cobb

    Severe chronic intractable pain treatment has it's consequences, be glad there is a doc out there that us willing to treat the worst of the worse to find them adequate pain control before they kill themselves. It's not the number of pills, but the ability to titrate to the effect to get meaningful pain relief. These patients are intrathecal pump candidates. I have no respect for Dr. Gupta, as he cannot give a story fair balance nor has the understanding to pain management practices let alone board certified. It is sad to see a doc who has devoted his career to clinical research in pain become a target of the DEA and a few patients.

    December 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

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