- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Dozens of health professionals are trying to ensure that thousands of patients have medication and other assistance they need after a suspended doctor closed pain centers in nine northeastern Indiana cities.

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan is leading a group of 50 to 60 doctors and others responding to what’s been deemed a crisis, The Journal Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1smYOZb ).

Patients may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms after waiting too long to seek medical attention, McMahan said Friday, flanked by about half a dozen health professionals at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department’s annex in New Haven. “We have to work together.”

“People have to realize that they will need to be seen and can’t simply have their medications refilled,” McMahan said.

Dr. William Hedrick closed all Indiana Pain Center locations last month after the Indiana Medical Licensing Board suspended his license for 90 days in October, saying there was no control or accountability at the clinics. The closures affected between 5,000 and 10,000 patients.

Tom Allman, manager of addictive services at regional mental health provider Park Center Inc., said pain management patients shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking they can simply go without their medication.

“You can’t go cold turkey after being on narcotics,” he said.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller praised the response to the situation.

“Northern Indiana has a strong network of reputable health care providers who have stepped up to make sure patients in need of care are treated safely and responsibly,” Zoeller said in a statement.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net

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