Women say pain dismissed in lawsuit alleging change to fentanyl at fertility clinic – Deltaplex News
(NEW YORK) – A group of seven women are suing Yale University, claiming they underwent invasive and painful IVF procedures and were given saline instead of fentanyl, an opioid pain reliever.
According to the complaint, the women were given saline solution after a nurse at Yale University’s Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Clinic stole fentanyl for her personal use last year and the replaced with saline solution.
As a result, the women underwent a fertility procedure – egg retrieval – without pain management, according to the complaint, which described the process as “excruciating.”
“Egg retrieval is an extremely invasive procedure,” the law firm representing the women said in a statement. “Doctors and nurses told these patients that this surgery would require a dose of fentanyl for pain relief. However, each was then unknowingly treated with saline solution instead. “
The lawsuit, filed in Waterbury, Connecticut, state court on Wednesday by the women and their spouses, accuses Yale University of failing to follow protocols and thereby allowing fentanyl to be falsified.
The complaint also alleges that there have been “hundreds” of incidents in which saline has been substituted for fentanyl.
“Yale University takes no responsibility for the hundreds of fentanyl substitution events that have taken place at the REI clinic; he blames the single nurse who was able to steal the fentanyl relentlessly for over twenty weeks, ”the complaint states.
“But for years, Yale University has recognized the hidden danger of opioid diversion and the catastrophic injuries posed by opioid substitution by healthcare workers,” according to the lawsuit.
Nurse Donna Monticone pleaded guilty in March to one count of falsifying a consumer product and gave up her nursing license. She was sentenced in May to four weekends in prison, three months of house arrest and three years of supervised release.
A spokesperson for Yale University declined to comment on the lawsuit.
In March, following Monticone’s guilty plea, a Yale spokesperson released a statement saying patients had been notified and “changes are underway.”
“Yale has advised patients that there is no reason to believe that the nurse’s action has harmed their health or the outcome of their treatment. The Fertility Center regularly uses a combination of pain relievers during procedures and changes medications if there are signs of discomfort, ”the spokesperson said in March, according to the New Haven Register. “Changes are underway in procedures, record keeping and physical storage that will prevent this type of activity from recurring.”
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, also alleges that the women’s concerns and reports of “severe pain” were dismissed.
“Providers at Yale University were alerted to the problem with its supply of fentanyl, the only pain reliever given to women during egg retrieval, through intraoperative patient cries and postoperative reports of tortured pain, but , after information and belief, Yale University has never investigated these reports. , specifies the complaint. “Instead, the pain was downplayed as ‘normal’ for the invasive procedure, or attributed to the unavailability of an anesthesiologist on Saturdays and Sundays.”
According to Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a certified gynecologist and chief medical officer of Verywell Health, an online medical resource, the dismissed pain claim may ring true for many women.
Shepherd is not affiliated with Yale University and has no direct involvement or knowledge of the matter.
“Usually the main complaint is feeling rejected, that patients have not been heard,” she said of her own personal experience with patients who have sought her care. “It is one thing to be able to express how you feel, but even after that what actions are taken to achieve a common resolution of reducing discomfort, managing the situation? , the search for alternatives. “
Research over the years has also shown that women’s pain is often interpreted differently from men’s by medical providers.
A study published in April in the Journal of Pain, for example, found that when the same level of pain was expressed by women and men, women’s pain was considered less severe than that of men. The study also found that female patients were prescribed more psychotherapy for their pain, while male patients were prescribed more pain relievers.
In another study, women had to wait almost 15 minutes longer to receive pain relievers in an emergency room than men.
“It’s a subjective symptom, so it’s hard to put objectivity into it, like you would say, blood pressure or pulse,” Shepherd said of the pain. “And I think there are stereotypes about pain sensitivity and pain endurance, so from a female point of view you can consider that he is not able to take that much pain, but that’s not really how pain should be monitored or assessed. “
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