Northland Doctors Discuss Ethical Patient Care

Northlanders can do their part addressing the opioid epidemic.

DULUTH, Minn.- Northland medical professionals are discussing ethical issues when treating patients with pain or addiction.

The goal of the Medical Ethics Conference is to make sure patients are being treated fairly. When treating chronic pain medical professionals have a lot to take into consideration; from when opioids should be prescribed, to what to do if your patient develops an opioid addiction. The community response to addiction plays a large role in a patients recovery.

“Working to reduce stigma,” CADT chief medical officer Ferris Keeling said. “Addiction is a brain disease and its symptoms are behaviors and that behavior looks just like bad behavior so people think addiction is a choice people make.”

Medical professionals told FOX21 addiction is when you use a substance to feel normal. The stigma behind addiction can often cause patients to not seek help. Doctors look for signs of addiction in patients, but to ensure the best care communication is key.

“The hope is that patients will be open and honest about what’s happening outside the doctors office,” education coordinator Sarah Backstorm said.”But also that physicians and care providers are open to that honestly and react appropriately and honestly.”

Four medical professionals spoke during the ethical issues conference. One of the major points of discussion during the conference was prescribing a medication that stabilizes the addiction.

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