Over the holidays, we lost a fierce advocate and tireless activist who devoted the last decade of her life to fighting for chronic pain patients and the doctors who try to treat them. On Christmas Eve, Siobhan Reynolds, 50, founder of the Pain Relief Network, died in a plane crash in Ohio.
Reynolds' passion to help the chronic pain community was born from seeing her husband suffer with and later die from complications of a congenital connective tissue disorder that left him in debilitating pain. Her determination grew even more intense when she learned that her son had inherited the same genetic disorder.
Reynolds' husband did finally find pain relief through high-dose opioid therapy and for awhile was able to lead a somewhat normal life. The relief ended abruptly, however, when his physician, Dr. William Hurwitz, was arrested and convicted of drug dealing in a highly publicized, albeit unjust, trial. After that other doctors, fearing a similar fate, would not prescribe the medications Reynolds' husband needed. He spent the last years of his life in tremendous pain.
The rest of her life was spent fighting for patients' rights to adequate pain relief and defending physicians who were unjustly prosecuted for trying to help those patients. Of course, these actions raised the ire of the DEA and federal prosecutors, who launched a criminal investigation into Reynolds and the Pain Relief Network.
There is so much more to this story, but at this point I'm going to refer you to pieces written by some of the people who knew Siobhan Reynolds. They tell an amazing but also heartbreaking story. I just don't think I could do it justice, so I'd like to encourage you to read one or more of their articles. You won't regret getting to know this amazing woman and her tireless work on our behalf.
- Champion of Pain Relief, Siobhan Reynolds Dead in Plane Crash by Maia Szalavitz – Time magazine online
- Pain Relief Network's Siobhan Reynolds Killed in Plane Crash by Phillip Smith – StoptheDrugWar.org
- Siobhan Reynolds, RIP by Radley Balko – The Agitator
I hope some courageous and compassionate movie producer is inspired to make a film about this incredible lady. My heart and prayers go out to her teenage son.