– Associated Press – Saturday, October 1, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) – More than 1,500 former patients of Seattle Pain Centers have sought help in Washington emergency rooms since the chain of clinics was closed abruptly in July – and hundreds more have swamped local hospital programs.

Some providers say they’re struggling to meet the void left when the center’s medical director, Dr. Frank Li, was stripped of his medical license for practices that state regulators said possibly contributed to the deaths of at least 18 patients since 2010.

And some patients say they’ve been abandoned with no care for legitimate and agonizing pain, reported The Seattle Times (http://bit.ly/2d6UJVI).

“I am at my breaking point,” said Eric Currie, 33, of Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor County, who had been treated at the pain clinic for nerve pain and scarring after surgeries and chemotherapy for abdominal cancer diagnosed in 2009. “I was forced to go through withdrawal symptoms and cannot function at any kind of normal level.”

Currie said he’s on a waiting list for care at the Swedish Medical Center pain clinic. Officials there estimated they’ll be able to take outside referrals within three to four months.

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