LONG BEACH, CA – Nancy J. is well known to the local Emergency Department at St. Joseph, a community hospital in LA County. The affable 34-year-old woman has a complicated medical history, including fibromyalgia, cervicalgia, mastalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, thoracic and lumbar outlet syndromes.
When asked how she ended up choosing St. Joseph’s, she replied, “I have been dealing with pain for about 33 years and finally decided to ask for online advice on where to go for the best 24/7 medical care. People on the popular forum, TotalBodyDolor, have recommended this ED. The rest is history.” She subsequently added, “Having been to MANY other hospitals, and believe me, I had been to A LOT… I did my research before deciding to go there for my first visit. So I went on Yelp.”
We asked her about her experience at St. Joseph’s ED, which rank among the nation’s highest in patient turnover rate and imaging studies ordered. She recounted, “My last visit was just this past Thursday, at like 2 AM. My back and knees had been hurting for years, but it got really bad at around 1:30 AM, so I had to go to St. Joseph.” She continued, “I was seen by Dr. Nar Autichs. I told him about my pain; it’s like 11/10.” Nancy then gave us a useful tip: “Never forget to tell your doctor about your allergies. I know because I have about 16 or so. I told the doctor about the main ones, like Tramadol, Norco, Percocet, morphine, even the new FDA-approved medication for fibromyalgia, Dilaumed. Only Dilaudid works for me.”
Dr. Nar Autichs is, in fact, a renown expert in LA County for the management of fibromyalgia, especially acute exacerbations. We had a chance to interview him with a few quick questions, as he paused to look up from writing orders for Dilaudid. “Oh yeah, I remember Nancy,” he said. “After about the 5th dose of Dilaudid 1 mg IV, her pain completely went away. She was so happy she asked me when she could see me again. I told her I always work night shifts. She said, ‘Perfect. My pain usually comes back around 2-4 AM. I’ll see you in 4 days?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ We will see if she ends up keeping her appointment. She has a reputation for being a frequent flyer and is almost always on time.”