Lawton doctor gives insight into palliative care


LAWTON, Oklahoma (KSWO) – Often times when people think of hospice care they associate it with hospice care, but hospice care, which helps control people’s pain, higher doses of drugs aren’t just for people in palliative care that is nearing the end. of their life.

Dr Richard Brittingham, internal medicine physician at Comanche County Memorial Hospital and palliative care physician, said the idea behind palliative care is patient comfort. He says he tries to help people live less painful lives.

“I know they will never get rid of the disease, but I can at least make the disease less painful for them, less cloying for them, and give them a better quality of life,” said Brittingham. “The hospice doctor is interested in the symptoms. Try to control pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. In palliative care, we are much more interested in symptoms and giving a person a quality of life rather than a quantity of life.

He said any doctor can provide palliative care services.

“But many doctors are uncomfortable with the doses that are needed to achieve good pain control in patients, say for an example who suffers from cancer pain. Some of these patients need high enough doses of opioids to control their pain and anxiety, ”Brittingham said.

He said that as a certified palliative care physician, he was not bound by the same pain medication dosing rules as other providers.

“And the reason is that people who, for example, have a malignant tumor, their pain can be much greater than the average person who might take a drug two or three times a day,” Brittingham said. “I’m not limited by this. Oklahoma law limits how much you can prescribe people, but if someone is in hospice care, of course we want to focus on safety and what a safe dose for people is, but it doesn’t. There really is no cap on the dosage of opioids for people with malignant tumors or end-of-life problems.

But, just because he’s willing to do these types of dosages for people with extreme pain, that doesn’t mean he’ll do them for anyone who walks through his door asking.

“I want to make sure that distinction is clear,” said Brittingham. “I am talking about people who have legitimate pain, in accordance with a legitimate condition. I’m not talking about someone who comes to my office looking for drugs for the purpose of taking drugs. It will not happen.

Brittingham said he receives palliative care patients through hospital, home care and family patients calling his office.

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