"My mother had overdosed once before and ended up in the hospital," says Sarah (not her real name), "and it took her a long time to recover. She was really out of it, very confused and mentally unstable." The doctors at the hospital told Sarah that her mother had overdosed on fentanyl and Sarah thinks she might have been wearing one of the Duragesic patches that were recalled.
"It wasn't until recently that I started reading fentanyl in the news," Sarah says. "Then it hit me: this could have killed my mother. We always thought it was the cancer. I'm not a medical person but I don't think melanoma could have caused her to go into respiratory distress.
From what I read, the patch can cause respiratory distress so it is hard to say if it was an overdose of fentanyl or cancer that killed her. My mother passed away at home; she didn't complain about pain but at the same time she wasn't the type of person to talk about it. We knew she was suffering.
There was no autopsy because she had a terminal illness, but we all knew it was because of the patch because she wasn't taking anything else that would make her go into that kind of state. I'm not sure if the doctors thought she just had a bad reaction or it was one of the leaky patches. I believe she was on the patch for 6-8 months.
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I hope people will find a different way to manage pain, such as holistic or natural ways—not solely with these dangerous drugs. Pharmaceuticals are not always the right way to go."