Two VA patients were discharged from the hospital on the same day. One, a 70-year-old retiree, had an arthritic knee replaced. The other, a 24-year-old auto mechanic, underwent a hernia repair.
The woman and man (names are being withheld to protect patient privacy) came to the operating room for very different reasons. However, both left the hospital with an item that patients all too often take home: a sizable supply of prescription opioids. One year after surgery and unknown to their surgeons, both are still taking painkillers.