Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit


Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Guest Post: My Trip Through the Polypharmacy Blender II




The following is a guest post from Rory Tennes. It's a follow-on from a previous guest post he wrote for David Healy on RxISK.

--

A couple years ago I wrote my story and posted it on www.RxISK titled: “My Trip Through The Polypharmacy Blender”

Below is a short summary followed by an update on my life as it is now. Many thanks to Bob Fiddaman who kept encouraging me to finish this after several starts, fails, and stalls. It is difficult to write due to having to relive the painful emotions of what I had to survive and live through while telling this account of my life.

In short, I was ill, injured and in constant pain. I went to my doctors for help and they proceeded to drug me into oblivion. I had been in pain for a long time, years in fact and it was getting worse, interfering with my ability to work and function in every area of life. I went to my PCP or family doctor because after all, he knew me well and I could trust him. After a quick and mostly verbal exam, he diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and started prescribing medications. They helped a little but not much so he kept adding and changing medications. Little did I know that he, like the majority of doctors, did not know much about the drugs he was prescribing and what they actually do to a person, physically and emotionally do to a person. He, like most doctors and patients, believe what we have been told about prescription drugs. They are safe, effective and the “side effects” are mild and rare.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  The “side effects” are not mild and they are not rare. Drug companies have done an excellent job of deceiving most of us about the truth of what these chemicals actually do inside a body. I began to have emotional and behavioral problems after a few short months of “treatment” with medications so my doctor sent me to a psychiatrist. That was another huge mistake, one that cannot be exaggerated enough. The shrink added more drugs on top of what I was already taking, completely ignoring the drug interaction warnings and completely neglecting to inform me of what to watch out for. The more he drugged me the worse I became. My emotions, my behavior, my life spiraled out of control and I was at the point of suicide to end the horror of what my life had become.

Five major drug interaction warnings for serotonin syndrome. Seven for seizures and blackouts and he said nothing to me. Neither did any other doctor I was seeing nor any of my pharmacists. No one said a word about it until I specifically asked my family doctor when I went to see him out of desperation and as a last stop before ending my struggle the only way I could think of ending it.

I asked my PCP if he saw a problem with my medications because I was not getting better but getting worse and I was at the end of my rope. When he saw the list he panicked, literally panicked.

“Who prescribed this? You can’t take all of these drugs together. This is lethal! You have to stop. Serotonin syndrome. You have to stop now!” All of my doctors saw my medication list each time I visited them. That is what we are told to do, bring your medication list to every doctor appointment.  He was the first to say anything about my medications and I suspect it is only because I specifically asked him about it.

So I did. I stopped five of the medications cold turkey that day, five that he checked off on the list of more than ten prescriptions. That was the beginning of my recovery. A long and painful recovery that is still in progress.

Three Years Later

The pain was not fibromyalgia, it was autoimmune arthritis. It has a long scary name but basically, it is a form of rheumatoid arthritis that is serum negative for rheumatism. Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy or USpA. It is not uncommon, just not well recognized at the time and often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed as in my case. Because it was undiagnosed for 30 plus years it really made a wreck of my spine and shoulders. Three multi-level spinal fusions repaired the worst of the damage but there remains a great deal of structural damage and a good deal of daily pain.

The wreckage left by the disease is much easier to bare than is the wreckage left by the “treatment” by the western medicine model that uses pharmaceuticals and the damage they cause to lives and relationships and reputations.

What Is Left Over?

My marriage did not survive the ordeal and now I am no longer in touch with two of my three children due to the events related to my “treatment”. There is no doubt these events are related, in fact directly caused by my “treatment”. These events, behaviors, are spelled out in black and white in the FDA and in the drug company self-administered test research data and warnings. Spelled out clearly and precisely and then often followed by the phrase, "these side effects are mild and rare". Be advised, that phrase is well crafted to intentionally disarm the natural human self-preservation instinct we all have. The instinct to pay attention, to be alert to a possible danger and to act when we experience the afore-described phenomena. The phrase is very effective. Even effective on the professionals who prescribe and distribute those drugs because most of them do not consider the side effects important enough to mention to the patient. After all, the findings come from those who are educated and in authority so it must be true.

A side note; “Side effect” is a term created by drug manufacturers. Drugs do not have side effects. There is no such thing as a side effect. Drugs have effects. If one has a reaction as a consequence of taking a drug it is an effect of the drug. Calling it a side effect is intended to make you think it is unintentional, inconsequential and therefore not important. It really didn’t happen or really does not matter because that was not the reason you took the medication. The term is an intentional disarming tool created and skillfully used by drug companies.

Another phrase often used by drug companies is, “your doctor has determined the benefits outweigh the risks of using this medicine.” Did your doctor actually say that?  Does your doctor actually know that is true, is it a fact or at least a realistic expectation?

Interestingly the doctors are just as susceptible as we are to the power of suggestion of these phrases. The truth is our doctor often does not know what the risks are. They have not bothered to research the risks, instead relying on what the drug company sales representative verbally told them in the office sales pitch about the drugs.  Sadly, that is as far as most doctors go with research on the tools they use to treat you with.

What Is Left Of My Life Now I Am Alone?

I have a few friends and a few family members who understand and support me. I now have a criminal record as an abuser. Something completely opposite of my true character. That is what the drugs are capable of doing. They can and do change a person to someone they are not.

Take a person who is ill, injured and in pain, put them on mind-altering chemicals that cause serotonin syndrome, akathisia, and disinhibition and see what you get. You get a person stuck in the fight or flight mode. A person who is in survival mindset and who has lost control over how they act regardless of what they know to be right and wrong. Contrary to the belief of many, even professional councilors, it is possible to cause a person to lose the ability to choose how to act 100% of the time and choose how to behave at all times. If you think that is not true try it yourself. It is entirely possible and even very likely that if you alter a persons brain chemistry that person will lose the ability to choose how to behave. They may be able to choose most of the time but not all of the time.

So today I carry around a criminal record as an abuser even though my true identity is nothing like that. My life up until this point had a nearly spotless record save a few traffic tickets, most of which originated in my youth. I was an upstanding, law-abiding citizen, so much so that I had a license to carry a handgun concealed on my person if I chose to do so.

Now during the period of "treatment" in the form of drugging with as many as 12-14 psychoactive pharmaceuticals at a time, all legally prescribed and taken as directed, I was a menace to society. Not so much to society really but more to myself and to the people I loved the most and who bore the brunt of my drug-induced and akathisia driven behavior. Chemically altered, I was not myself and I was helpless to do anything about it.

Seeking Justice

Now having some time to somewhat recover from the drugging and from the emotional turmoil, I wanted to do something to help myself and other individuals and their families, possibly saving them from a similar fate or worse than the one I had to endure. At first, I had anger toward the doctors whose negligence caused my and my families suffering. I went after a way to try to recoup some of the monetary loss caused by their mistakes and at the same time hopefully dissuade the doctors and pharmacists from being so careless in the future. I contacted some 20 law firms, presented my evidence to them and asked if they were interested in representing me in a lawsuit. All of them said I had a strong case, most of them said I had an 80-90% chance of winning. However, they said, because of Tort Reform in Texas limiting the maximum award amount to $250,000, it would not be profitable enough for them to pursue a lawsuit. They said it costs about $100,000 to prosecute a medical negligence case and that there would not be enough money left over to make it worth their while to take the case. It's not that I couldn't win, just that they could make more money on other types of cases.

OK, I thought, I'll go to the Texas Medical Board first and try to obtain a ruling or sanction against the psychiatrist first, then threaten a lawsuit and force him to settle without a trial. Surely that would work in my favor. Wrong again. I filed a complaint and waited for an answer. After two months waiting, I received a letter with a two-sentence denial stating there was not enough evidence to show the 'good doctor' was negligent in his treatment. I was really surprised because I was very careful and methodical in putting together all the evidence. I had my medical records from him and all my doctors including his notes from each appointment, pharmacy records, testimony from my wife who attended most of my appointments, everything I needed to show that he prescribed multiple medications that I should never have been taking simultaneously. Records showing cold stops and starts with multiple psych drugs simultaneously, multiple drug interaction warnings, no instructions about side effects to watch for, reporting from my wife and I about my condition involving anger and aggression. It was all there in black and white.

Stunned, I filed an appeal, went to Austin for the hearing and testified with all of my evidence which was very clear and sufficient to show negligence.

I was stunned again with a ruling that there was not enough "clear evidence" showing negligence. I could not even get validation that anything wrong was done. I could not get the powers that be to acknowledge I had been treated incorrectly. I could get no validation that the doctors and pharmacists had done anything wrong. The evidence was there. It was clear and condemning, even in the doctor's handwritten notes.

You see, the Medical Board is made up of doctors and healthcare providers and they protect their own. They too may one day need the protection of their peers so they are not about to stain the water by punishing one of their own.

Today

So here I sit today. My life completely uprooted, burnt and in ashes from the firestorm of "treatment" I received because I did what I was supposed to do. Go to your doctor and follow his/her instructions. And there is nothing I can do about it. I cannot even get validation that anything was done incorrectly. What irks me even further is that these healthcare professionals were paid well to practice medicine in this way. They were compensated well, praised for their work, respected by the community and their peers while all the while making me out to be the bad guy, the one who was sick. I trusted them and paid them to destroy my life.

The justice system is just as bad. They believe what they are told by professionals in the medicine and healthcare system. Furthermore, they feel compelled to dish out justice when something wrong is done but they suffer from a systemic flaw that does not allow them to find the real culprit. The pressure is on them to do something and they automatically take the easy and most obvious route at dishing out punishment directed at the most obvious offense, even though the offender may not be the one truly at fault. The offender may be a victim as well. But, it is easy, safe and more economical to focus on the most glaring, the most currently popular and trending knee-jerk, emotion-triggering act. Physical abuse. They go home with a win in their pocket and a sense of accomplishment without being questioned by anyone and without ever having to ask the difficult question. Why? What caused this? Who is responsible for this? What contributed to this?

For this, they are compensated and praised by everyone. That praise cements their conviction that they were right, that they did the right thing. Besides, even if they did know or even suspect that the prescriptions were the cause they face a huge uphill battle against wealthy pharmaceutical companies who hire expert lawyers. Lawyers who know how to obfuscate and twist the truth so there is doubt enough to absolve them of guilt. A win would be hard to get and a loss would not look good on a prosecutors record.  That record of wins is how they are graded and compensated so getting at the truth is not their first priority, winning is. That is a systemic flaw preventing true justice being done.

I am left wondering how many times this has happened to unsuspecting people. People who still probably do not know what went wrong. People who are left thinking they are at fault when in fact the fault squarely rests on the healthcare providers and the pharmaceutical companies who peddle this poison and intentionally mislead doctors and the public about what the drugs actually do. It is 10 months since my trip to Austin and the humiliating experience of being blamed again for what was clearly not my fault. I am just now beginning to feel like I can pick myself up and try to salvage a life from this mess. Just now groping to find the will to get up every day and find a positive attitude so I can move forward.  I'm still not sure what I want to do or even what I am capable of accomplishing. I want to continue to try to make a difference, if for no other reason than to possibly help prevent some other persons and families from having to suffer this kind of hell. Just not sure what to do at this point. Somehow I have to find a way to support myself since my wife divorced me and took away the last bit of security I had in this world. After supporting myself I will have to dig up the energy and will to continue trying to make a difference. That is hard to do because I have been having to swallow the bitter pill of defeat each time I made an effort to do something.

Lessons To Be Learned

One invaluable lesson I have learned is to trust no one and no institution until they earn that trust. Not healthcare, not the justice system, not the Medical Boards or any other consumer safety organization and certainly not any business institution such as pharmaceuticals who have a profit margin at stake. If I sound jaded or angry it is because I am. I am with good cause to be angry, not just because of what happened to me but because this continues to happen every day to other good people who often never learn the truth. My Dad was one of those good persons. He died thinking he was sick, but that is another story to tell. A life completely destroyed by negligent treatment by healthcare as it is today.

Lives are being destroyed for the sake of profit and the guilty go unpunished.

Rory Tennes













Please contact me if you would like a guest post considered for publication on my blog.