Recent Entries

Skeletal Muscle Relaxant Guideline

2019-09-08 19:42:11 jeffk2996

Today’s post is a repost of an article I wrote previously about Skeletal Muscle Relaxants (SMRs). Concurrent with this article, I have added a Sample Guideline on prescribing Skeletal Muscle Relaxants to the Guideline Section of JailMedicine.

Personally, I think that skeletal muscle relaxers like cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol and chlorzoxazone are over prescribed for acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain, both in the outside world but especially in corrections. The main reason for this, I think, is that prescribers misunderstand what muscle relaxers do. Contrary to their name, muscle relaxers do not relax muscles, at least as they are commonly prescribed. Muscle relaxers are sedatives, pure and simple, and should be prescribed with that fact in mind. Instead of telling patients (and ourselves) that “I am prescribing a muscle relaxer for you,” in the interest of full disclosure, we should be saying “I am prescribing a sedative for you.”

Posted in: Drug EvaluationsDrugs of AbuseEditorialGuidelineUncategorizedTagged in: evidence based medicineinmatesJailMedicinejailsJeffrey KellerprisonsSkeletal Muscle Relaxants Read more... 2 comments

The Root Cause of Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide

2019-08-22 11:24:11 jeffk2996

The recent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein while in custody at a Manhattan detention facility has focused intense media scrutiny into jail suicide prevention procedures. Suicide is the biggest cause of death in jails in the United States—by far.  Because of this, all jails (including the facility where Mr. Epstein was housed) have a suicide prevention policy.   Since the suicide prevention process was an epic failure at the facility where Mr. Epstein was housed, it might be useful to discuss how a jail suicide prevention program is supposed to work.

Posted in: EditorialInmate issuesLegal mattersMedPage TodayPsychiatrySuicideUncategorizedTagged in: evidence based medicineinmatesJailMedicinejailsJeffrey Kellerprisons Read more... 2 comments

The Art Of Meeting New Patients in a Jail

2019-08-19 12:24:38 jeffk2996

I will be meeting a new jail patient with multiple medical problems today in my clinic.  I know this much before I even meet him:  He will almost certainly be scared, especially if this is the first time he has ever been to jail.  He will likely be suspicious of me. He may even be downright hostile. I know this because this is the norm for correctional medicine. I can’t be an effective doctor unless I can turn this attitude around.

Consider the situation from my patient’s perspective.  Prior to seeing me, he was arrested, handcuffed and driven to jail in a police car.  Once at the jail, he was thoroughly searched (spread-eagle against the wall), fingerprinted and had his “mug shot” taken.  His clothes were taken away and he was given old jail clothes (including used underwear).  He was placed in a concrete cell.  Now he is summoned by a correctional deputy and told (not asked) to go to the medical clinic.

He did not choose me to be his doctor.  Though he doesn’t know anything about me, he has no choice but to see me for his medical care. Not only did he did not choose me; he cannot fire me or see anyone else.  He may fear that I am not a competent doctor; otherwise why would I be practicing in a jail?

This is the attitude that I have to overcome.  How to do this is an essential skill for correctional practitioners. And, of course, the single most important encounter is the first one. A negative first impression is hard to overcome--and I am already starting out at a disadvantage.  What I have to do in only a few minutes is convince my patient that I am a legitimate medical doctor and that I care about him. I have learned in many years of doing this that these things are essential:

Posted in: Inmate issuesJail cultureMedPage TodayPractice ManagementVerbal JujitsuTagged in: evidence based medicineinmatesJailMedicinejailsJeffrey KellerPatientsprisonsVerbal Jiu Jitsu Read more... 1 comment

Comfort Items: Why Not?

2019-07-31 13:26:54 jeffk2996

Perhaps the strangest aspect of practicing medicine in a jail or prison is “comfort requests.”  This is when an inmate comes to the medical practitioner asking for something like a second mattress, the right to wear their own shoes, a second pillow, a second blanket, etc.  This, of course, never happens in an outside medical practice.  When was the last time you heard of a patient asking for a prescription for a pillow?  Yet such requests are extremely common in correctional medicine.  You might think, “Well, just give them the second pillow—what harm can it cause?” But it is not that simple. Like every medical issue, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle these requests. To understand why, let’s consider the single most commonly requested comfort item in a correctional medical clinic:  a second mattress.

Posted in: Comfort itemsEditorialInmate issuesJail cultureMedPage TodayUncategorizedTagged in: evidence based medicineJailMedicinejailsJeffrey Kellerprisonssecond mattress Read more... 10 comments

Reader Question: Don't Be the Decider

2019-07-22 15:51:43 jeffk2996

I work at a prison and your blog has been such a resource for our unique niche of medicine. There’s nothing like practicing “behind the walls!" . . .
Recently I’ve been incorporating more conversations about functionality and short-term/long-term goals and visits are mostly positive. However, there are the difficult patients . . . wanting to bargain “well if you’re not going to do anything, can I have an extra mat?” Or “Can I have a bottom floor restriction?” “Transfer me then!” “Give me insoles.” …and other requests like this. How do you recommend I come to an agreement with these patients that are difficult to have conversations with? . . . If by the end of the appointment we do not come to some sort of agreement, they end up right back in sick call with the same complaint. Then the cycle repeats. KR

Posted in: GuidelineInmate issuesLanguageLegal mattersPractice ManagementReader QuestionUncategorizedVerbal JujitsuTagged in: evidence based medicineinmatesJailMedicinejailsJeffrey Kellerprisons Read more... 3 comments

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