Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Too Many Questions

NY Rangers
Monday was not a good day for the NHL as John Branch wrote in Monday's New York Times another very strong article regarding the death of former New York Ranger Derek Boogaard. It is a very tragic and frustrating story that leads to even more questions but the biggest question has to be "how was this allowed to get this far?"

I am not sure which bothers me the most? That Derek Boogaard was able to get over 100 different prescriptions for sleeping pills or painkillers in a three-year period. Or that none of this information would've seen the light of day if not for what had to have been a very painful investigation conducted by Boogaard's own father Len Boogaard.

For elder Boogaard using 30 years of experience as a police officer this must've been an extremely painful investigation. I don't even think any of us can understand the pain this has caused him and his family.

We also need to acknowledge that as much as we want to fault the NHL, the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers, the NHLPA and all the various doctors who prescribed all these medications there also needs to be some blame for Derek Boogaard himself.

It is not like I wish to speak ill of the deceased but none of us know what Boogaard said or did to convince all these doctors to issue all those prescriptions. It's easy to sit back here and ask how come it was so easy for somebody in Boogaard's position to obtain all those drugs?

If you read the article or this companion piece written by Puck Daddy then some very disturbing questions are raised.

The fact that Boogaard was able to see so many different doctors, several of which must have had very little understanding of his circumstances or vocation, is a travesty. Clearly, the NHL needs to severely amend its policies and improve communication among its contracted medical professionals.

In reading the New York Times article there is one group that also needs to answer some serious questions and that's the pharmacies that filled all these prescriptions. How come nobody ever raised any questions regarding the high quantity of prescriptions being filled by Derek Boogaard.

From the New York Times article:

Len Boogaard also obtained pharmacy records for his son through various drugstore chains. They provided store-by-store accounts of Derek Boogaard’s prescriptions, with dates, doctors, medications and dosages.

I know from first-hand experience that there are rules in place that are supposed to be safeguards when certain painkilling or sleep aid medication are prescribed. After my neck surgeries, I was prescribed a couple of the pain medications like Boogaard was as well as Ambien to help me sleep.

In my case, the insurance company that covers me has a set limit of how soon I can refill any prescription and in the case of the painkillers I needed to provide proof of who I was as well as sign for the drugs when I picked up the prescription.

In the computer world it's not hard for somebody to look up somebody's prescription record and see when was the last time a prescription was filled. I even had a case where a prescription was not allowed because I had not taken a lower level of dosage of the medication first.

Perhaps the one thing I don't understand the most is that the medical insurance that covers me also covers several thousand people, yet it is able to maintain records that allow various doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers to be able to see what medications I am currently on.

It is a protective measure that helps to prevent somebody from prescribing a medication that might cause a bad reaction to other medications I'm taking. So how come the National Hockey League with 600 players doesn't employ something like this?

Please they cannot use the excuse of privacy issues because in my case my medical records as well as anybody else's in the United States is covered by the HIPAA privacy rules. Another area of concern has to be the lack of communication among team of medical providers.

In the case of the New York Rangers, I don't know how the communication set up is and I hope after what happened with Boogaard that safeguards were put into place. The Rangers have a team physician and an assistant, three doctors who act as consultants and two dentists.

I'm not a lawyer, medical provider or expert on medical privacy rules but I have to think that there has to be a way for the Ranger medical staff to have a system in place where they can look up each players medical records and if need be share it with a players own physician.

Please understand that the intent here is not to beat up on the New York Rangers because I know that those in charge of the team would go the extra mile to have helped Boogaard if they knew how bad the situation was. Say what you want about Glen Sather but he would have bent over backwards to help Boogaard

I'm not kidding myself either by saying that if an addict really wants to get his drug(s) then they will find a way to make it happen. What I'm hoping for is a system that uses checks and balances to hopefully prevent another family from the pain that the Boogaard family lives with every day.

Some cancer they were

I think I have watched maybe 10-15 minutes of the Stanley Cup finals at most. Partly because the Rangers are not there but mainly because I'm trying to sell one house while buying a new one.

But in watching what the Los Angeles Kings are doing I can't help but wonder what Philadelphia Flyer GM Paul Holmgren is saying to explain why he traded away Jeff Carter and Mike Richards last summer. After the trade, the rumor mill was going 100 miles an hour hinting at Carter and Richards were traded because they were supposedly cancers in the Flyer locker room.

Granted Carter didn't help his reputation during his time in Columbus but the duo is one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions. The 2 have combined for 10-13-23 in the 17 games played and I don't know about the rest of the hockey world but I haven't heard one bad word about either player from those who follow or cover the Los Angeles Kings.

When the Kings skate around the ice with the Cup, I really hope that the Flyer fans are watching and asking why were they really traded?

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