Advice Column

Heather B said:

You don't have any idea how relieved I am to find this info here!! Now what do I do with it??

February 29, 2012 4:25 PM

bartleby012 said:

What you do with the info, Heather, is empower yourself with it. And the cornerstone of that empowerment is awareness -- which, thankfully, is the very thing that a site like Versed Busters raises. You can do a few things with this awareness:

First, refuse Versed in the future should a medical practitioner want to administer it to you. There is simply no good or valid reason to ever purposely induce amnesia during a medical procedure. It is only a recent development in medical thinking that amnesia is somehow a "benefit" to the patient, but sadly all too often the patient isn't given an opportunity to make that judgment for himself. At any rate, I maintain that the pharmacological inducement of amnesia is NEVER a medical necessity, and I welcome any medical professional to cite a single credible and objective basis for thinking otherwise.

Second, raise other people's awareness to this terrible drug and familiarize yourself with your rights as a patient, as well as with the concept of informed consent.

And third, recognize that time moves forward; not backward. If your repeated exposure to Versed has caused you memory problems, there is no constructive purpose in dwelling on it, or in torturing yourself with wondering what changes the drug may have caused to your mind. To do either is an easy (and potentially agonizing) trap to fall into. Obviously you do want to address those emotions because it would be unhealthy to suppress them, but one important thing to keep in mind is to not allow them to take over your life. Instead, the best way to recover on a cognitive level, I think, is to let all that extra "stuff" go (and by "stuff," I mean anger, resentment, the endless "what ifs," etc.).

It is absolutely atrocious that a drug like Versed even exists, and worse still that it remains in such widespread use. But Versed is simply yet another reflection of the craziness of the world we live in. I don't know if you ever saw the movie Lock Up starring Sylvester Stallone, but in an early scene, the main character defines his daily approach to life with the acronym "D.T.A." -- which stands for "Don't trust anyone." Unfortunately, with the ethics and behavior of the contemporary medical profession being such as they are, that particular approach is the only viable one for today's patients. Indeed, in an age where potent, brain-disabling drugs are being given out like candy by doctors and nurses all over the world, without the patient receiving even the most basic explanation of these drugs' side effects or mechanisms of action, trust is sadly no longer an option. Awareness, however, is -- in fact, it is an imperative. And don't expect doctors, nurses, or pharmaceutical companies to bestow it upon you. Instead, each patient needs to gain it for himself, which is why sites like Versed Busters are so valuable.

I wish you well in the future with your health problems.

March 01, 2012 12:17 PM

Kathy said...

I am three years out from my Versed Trauma . . . What I do now is on the paper that you sign for anesthesia Dr. I write :

I DO NOT consent for use of VERSED in any AMOUNT or at ANYTIME EVER.

Then sign your name.

I now boldly state I do not require amnesia to have this treatment. Use the word Amnesia, be assertive and unmovable, then WRITE IT , then SIGN IT.


March 11, 2012 6:40 PM


Kathryn Steward said...

I always list Versed as an allergy. It doesn't help much though because I always get the third degree as to why I can't take this supposedly wonderful drug which pisses me off to no end.
I now write in magic marker "NO VERSED" on both of my arms prior to any type of medical procedure, and all over any type of consent form that I need to sign prior to anything being done to me.
I can't ever go through what I went through with the Endoscopy From Hell again.

zarina barbour said...

Is there someone that can contact me via email so I can learn how yo expose and report yhe bad experience I had with this drug just recently for a spinal tap procedure.

Blythe Mayne said...

To whom do I complain if I was given VERSED after specifically requesting, in writing, that I wanted NO VERSED? I wrote it down as an allergy, I wrote a letter to include in my file, I brought the letter with me to the procedure. Yet I was still given VERSED. I am livid and want to complain where it will cause some pain to the doc who administered it against my wishes.

Glen h said...

Seems like this blog is too old but here goes, I had a cystoscope due to a blocked ureter from a kidney stone and was sedated with this awful Versed. I was taking strong opioid medications and have in the past gone off opioid medications cold turkey and know what severe withdrawal feels like. By the time the scope was over, I was crying and shaking and had "heebie jeebies" or what is also know as panic attacks. I felt like death warmed over and almost welcomed death as a relief! My thought was the doctor gave me an opioid reversal drug like Narcan but no, it was the Versed. I know this because I was about to undergo carpral tunnel surgery and it happened once more. I even told them I "might" be allergic to versed. The head nurse was very nice and the doctor pumped some valium into the IV and within 30 seconds the effect of the versed was gone thank god! Glad I am not alone or crazy.

No more versed said...

I recently had shoulder surgery and told both the anesthesiologist and the CRNA that I could and would not take Versed. They asked why and I described the prolonged amnesia, 24 hour hiccups, nausea, weeklong period of fearfulness and anxiety and the paradoxical reaction when I almost jumped off the operating table They both said wow and said no Versed for me. The anesthesiologist then shared a funny experience he had when he was given Versed and had prolonged amnesia himself. The CRNA handled my anesthesia and did a great professional job and went out of her way to provide courtesy and support. They’ll be doing my other shoulder and I don’t have to dread anesthesia.