Please note: I’m not asking for medical advice here I’m asking for advice about the morality of lying in this situation.
For years I have used NSAIDS, like Ibuprofen, to treat a chronic pain issue. Earlier this year, I had to increase my use of Ibuprofen and was also on another medicine short-term that was very hard on my stomach and I developed a peptic ulcer as a result. Now I am on medication to treat the peptic ulcer and my doctor took me off of Ibuprofen and put me on Tramadol (a narcotic-like painkiller) to treat my pain. The tramadol really screwed with me mentally; within a week of starting it I was a weepy, irritable, depressed, emotional mess (this went away when I stopped taking the tramadol). So tramadol really isn’t an option for me.
The doctor said we could put me on traditional narcotic painkillers but neither my doctor nor I are really thrilled about going that route. I am young and there is a history of addictions of various kinds in my family and the thought of that even becoming a possibility is really scary and undesirable. Plus, it doesn’t make much sense to treat my pain with such a strong painkiller when Ibuprofen controls my pain so well.
The third option is to take a drug along with the Ibuprofen. It helps to reduce the incidence of peptic ulcers when taking Ibuprofen. The only problem is, my doctor won’t prescribe the drug without also putting me on birth control or being assured we will use condoms. The drug is very abortifacient (it’s a drug used for chemical abortions) and so I can understand my doctor’s line of thinking. I happen to think Creighton is more effective than abc and condoms but my doctor can’t be convinced of this (and please don’t suggest I see another doctor because there are none in my area who would take a different view; the doctor who runs the local Christian crisis pregnancy center has no problem prescribing hormonal birth control to married women to give you an idea)
Now, I could legitimately take the hormonal birth control to treat another medical condition I have (severe endometriosis) but I’ve been down that road before. I tried a course of birth control pills for the endometriosis and the birth control pills really screwed with me emotionally and I gained a lot of weight and was generally miserable (and please don’t suggest I try a NaPro doctor etc. There are none near where I live, we are poor, and my insurance won’t cover a doctor out of state). So that option is out. And we won’t use condoms because they don’t directly treat a medical condition and are strictly contraceptive.
My question is, would it be terrible to lie to the doctor and just say that we are using condoms to get him to prescribe this medication? I’m fairly confident that I’m not going to become pregnant while using NFP (we are very conservative already; we only have relations during phase 3 of my cycle).
Basically my options are take nothing and be in significant chronic pain; continue to take massive doses of the Ibuprofen which is eating my stomach lining away; take narcotic painkillers stronger than the tramadol and risk addiction; take the tramadol and be an emotional mess; lie to the doctor and take the ibuprofen and this other drug; abstain completely from sex which will cause significant marital problems (my husband is not Catholic and this would be unbelievably difficult for him) and take the ibuprofen and other drug.
Out of these options, lying to the doctor seems like the best one to me. But I can’t get over that it would mean lying.
Please note: I’m not asking for medical advice here I’m asking for advice about the morality of lying in this situation.
Lying to the doctor who is treating you, IMHO, is ***always ***a bad idea!
There is way too much going on here, and not only your health, but the health of your unborn child could be at risk. You need to be very open & honest w/ the Doctor and maybe get a second opinion. I would also have a talk with my priest.
I am sorry for your health issues, they sound like a burden to manage. But, I just don’t see how lying to your doctor could ever be a good idea, especially when you are trying to juggle so many things at once. You have to take a step back and try to put things in order, obviously your doctor is concerned about one treatment approach because of the possibility of you becoming pregnant. I think that you must be very honest with him and ask him if he could possibly refer you to a physician who would be able to work with your health issues as well as your commitment to NFP. I will pray for you to have the chance to work with a physician who can help you ASAP.
OK, this is probably bad advice but I also have similar issues with my docs, a bad bone disease that causes chronic pain all over, and use(d) the Creighton method. I would lie to my docs in a heartbeat about this issue.
YOU are in charge of your body and know the risks you take using all those drugs (just came off narcotics myself and doc was so worried I get preg while taking tramadol and then the oxys).
I would probably tell my ob/gyn if I was going to THAT appointment, and outline the NFP method you are using and show them how successful you and your husband are. You know the serious implications of what you are doing and the drugs you take. Your docs are probably just worried about a law suit. I don’t blame them but they do box their patients into a moral corner.
When I spoke to my confessor about just such a situation, he understood our relations only during the 3rd phase, and called me responsible.
Chronic pain is sososo difficult. I will pray for you.
Let him give you the perscription. Then he is covered, lawsuit-wise, and you can rip it up.
I’m very sorry to hear of your pain problems. Constant pain is very tiring and draining and it doesn’t help you to make decisions. There’s a lot of cynical talk here about lawsuits…but I think your doctor wants to help you avoid the possible trauma (and I mean trauma) of getting pregnant while on this drug. He must have seen people go through similar experiences. To be safe from a lawsuit he’d only have to avail you of the facts and let you make the choice. I don’t understand the rejection of hormonal birth control in this situation. If you got pregnant while taking this drug it sounds like it would cause you to abort…is that right? Surely, surely the avoidance of pregnancy would be better than the destruction of one? And treating the endometriosis would be another real benefit - that’s painful too isn’t it?
There are many kinds of birth control pill - the one you took was obviously not suited to you.
Your marital relations are very important to your relationship and the peace of mind of both of you, all of which goes a long way in helping you get better physically. The stresses of pain and of the worry of a doomed pregnancy MAY be alleviated by the right sort of hormonal pill if only you could see your way to using it in this situation.
On the lying bit…
I think I would advise telling the doctor the truth - he may not believe you again if he finds out you didn’t - but I see where you’re coming from. It’s not too bad a lie if you said you’d use condoms to put his mind at rest about the birth control BUT if you absolutely reject the idea of hormonal birth control pills DON’T take a prescription for them, then rip it up and lie about taking a drug when you aren’t. That could get complicated and could be dangerous. I’m not sure if that’s what the last poster meant, but it would be very unadvisable.
I wish you both all the best in getting through these problems together.
Trust is a two-way street. If you wouldn’t want your doctor lying to you, than don’t lie to them.
Work with your health care professionals, the Dr.'s job is to give you all the options, advise you of the risks and consequences. They can not do that if you’re lying to them. You ultimately make the decision whether the Dr. agrees with it or not. But don’t lie to them.
It looks like you are getting plenty of medical advice, but let’s get back to the question of the morality of lying in these circumstances.
It is tempting to think we may be justified when we lie in order to obtain some good, but the Catechism does not support this notion at all. Here are a few paragraphs from the CCC on lying:
2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.
2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error.
2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.
2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.
Wow! That sounds pretty serious! Let’s look at how it may apply to your situation
To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. If you do not tell the doctor the full truth about your medical condition, over-the-counter medications including ibuprofen, and NFP lifestyle choices, he/she will very likely be led into error. You may be denying him/her the opportunity to correctly diagnose your condition and to recommend the most effective therapy which is compatible with your values and morals.
Doctors know that patients lie to them, and I think they may appreciate when they have an honest patient.
Doctors are, for the most part, really smart. They know about alternative treatment strategies. They know all about side effects. They know patients are real people with spouses, religion, and family concerns. If you let your doctor know your what’s going on, tell him what your moral limits are, I should hope he/she can work out an agreeable plan.
You are in charge of your medical treatment. You doctor can’t force you to take medications. If you tell him you cannot take those, he/she may know of alternatives.
Oops! Got to go pick up one of my kids. I’ll write more later…
My experience only: doctors are indeed for the most part, smart. Trust for me, is a whole other issue - especially when docs don’t think contraception is amoral.
For many people with chronic pain, the options for treatment are extremely limited.
If she tells the truth, the doctor may offer her *nothing * for her severe, unrelenting pain. That can lead to many many other problems.
Can you talk to one of those pain-therapists at a pain center? I personally don’t feel that anyone who hasn’t had the debilitating struggle of chronic pain is qualified to counsel you in this regard.
Lying is a sin, yes. Chronic pain is a curse.
I have tried three different kinds of birth control pills and each one has had the same emotional/mental effect on me. I do not have a problem with taking birth control pills to treat my legitimate medical condition; my objection to taking them is simply based on the extremely undesirable side effects I have experienced when taking them.
I also do not have a problem with taking an abortifacient medication to treat my peptic ulcer. My intent in taking the medication would not be to cause an abortion; it would be to treat my ulcer and enable me to continue to take ibuprofen so I can function.
For avoiding pregnancy while I am taking this abortifacient medication, I would trust the NFP method I use far more than I would trust birth control pills, but if I could take birth control pills without the side effects to treat the endometriosis I would.
What frustrates me is that the majority of doctors are unwilling to even consider NFP as a legitimate choice to prevent pregnancy. I honestly would be more nervous about hormonal contraception failing to prevent ovulation than I would be about having sex in phase 3 of my cycle but every single doctor I’ve seen who hears about NFP thinks NFP=unreliable contraceptive method even when presented with literature that demonstrates otherwise.
The risk in taking this medication is that it would cause a miscarriage if I were to become pregnant. I can accept that risk (principle of double effect). I do not think using condoms, using birth control pills, or using a combination of both is more effective at preventing pregnancy than the NFP method I use.
If I used condoms and/or birth control pills, it wouldn’t lessen the risk of me becoming pregnant and then having a miscarriage; I think it would actually increase it. The issue I have with my doctor is about trust in NFP and misinformation about NFP. And unfortunately my doctor and the majority of doctors simply do not believe that NFP is reliable.
After reading the other posts, I don’t have much more to say about the morality issue.
Are there any other treatment options for your ulcer? Are you already on an acid reducer like omeprazole? (I am not giving medical advice, just asking.)
I’m a curious guy, and so I was wondering which ulcer medication is also abortifacient. Google suggested it might be misoprostol. Wikipedia’s article on misoprostol contains this interesting statement:
However, even in the treatment of NSAID induced ulcers, omeprazole proved to be at least as effective as misoprostol, but significantly better tolerated, and therefore misoprostol should not be considered a first choice treatment.
I’m reading also that omeprazole is safe for pregnant women. While omeprazole is sold over-the-counter, your doctor can prescribe a higher dosage if necessary.
Also I wonder if you have been checked out for H. pylori infection. This is treatable.
Sorry to be spouting advice. Like they say in the pharmaceutical ads, talk to your doctor…
I agree with generalities. Is it possible for your doctor to send you to a pain specialist? None of your options seen like a good idea to me.