30 January 2014
A dose of your own medicine
One of our friends is in the terminal phase of cancer. He was suffering quite a lot of pain so he was seen by one of the truly wonderful MacMillan Nurses. The nurse decided to give the pain killer in liquid form.
I was absolutely dumb struck by the fact that his carer has to draw up the liquid (a type of morphine) into a series of needleless syringes which are left on the mantelpiece for him to use orally as necessary!
Having a long-standing interest in diabetes, I thought that this sort of procedure had been abandoned twenty or more years ago. Back then, District Nurses used to draw up insulin and leave it on the mantelpiece to gather dirt until the patient needed it. This became a big “no, no!” when insulin pens became the norm for every person with diabetes who needs insulin. The technology is now so brilliant that they can be used by patients who are completely blind.
So why, for goodness sake, isn’t insulin pen technology used for analgesia in terminal care? The pens are so simple to use and reliable. Fixed doses can be set up with ease.
Even the very first insulin pen which Novo Nordisk brought out in 1985 would fit the bill. Incredibly simple, each push of a button delivered 2 units of insulin.
Even as I am writing this, I have heard that our friend has had an accident with a table and his syringes have been scattered all over the floor. But he’s still using them!