Couldn’t help recalling that last year, quite a number of physicians made the headlines..so here’s my list of the Dr Jekylls and Dr Hydes of 2011.
The Worst Doctors
1. Conrad Murray,MD
Physician to the King of Pop.. in November he was sentenced to 4 years in jail for his conviction on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star’s death. There wasn’t much substance in his defence once he admitted to using propafol injected intravenously into Michael Jackson’s veins so as to enable him to sleep at home. What was worse was that this drug is normally used in a hospital setting with the patient hooked on close monitors; using it otherwise (at home) constitutes negligence and inappropriate use.
2. Gerald J Klein, MD
Gerald who? Well, he was one of 14 Florida doctors indicted in August 2011 for illegally distributing opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and sedatives like Xanax. Drug addicts and dealers would queue in their clinics to sell or receive drugs illegally under the pretext of valid medical reasons. Opioid analgesics were dispensed and prescribed on an assembly line basis, paid for with cash and credit cards. Clinic employees hauled their money to the bank in large garbage bags. This way, each doctor netted USD 1 million yearly. “Drug dealers in white coats”, said the FBI.Read more here.
3. John R McLean,MD and others
The Maryland cardiologist was convicted on 6 charges of healthcare fraud relating to insurance claims that he had filed for doing unnecessary coronary angiograms and angioplasties (invasive test and treatment of blocked heart arteries), as well as for ordering unnecessary tests and making false entries in patient medical records. In November, Dr. McLean was sentenced to 8 years in jail.
The buck does not stop here in Maryland – already two other cases are being heard (see here and here) of similar cases where cardiologists have done unnecessary procedures on otherwise well patients, in return for unethical financial rewards.
In the next blog entry, I will name the best doctors of 2011.
- U.S. Drug overdose deaths are increasing (psychologytoday.com)
We’re not talking here about contraband drugs like speed, heroin and the like…but, on the other hand, there’s a big (though not quite legal) market out there for prescription drugs. These are mainly pain-killers which do give a ‘high’ feeling as well. No thanks to high-publicity cases like Michael Jackson’s (see my post “What Killed Michael Jackson?”), there’s a growing awareness and demand for these prescription pills, bought and sold on the sly.
Prescription drug abuse, now the fastest-growing drug problem in the USA, has created a ballooning street market for highly-addictive pain relief, anxiety and depression drugs.
Take a look at the street prices of these prescription drugs and you will see what I mean:
–Oxycontin: USD 50-80 on the street, vs. USD 6 when sold legally
—Oxycodone: USD 12-40 on the street, vs. USD 6
—Hydrocodone: USD 5-20 vs. $1.50
—Percocet: USD 10 -15 vs. $6
—Vicodin: USD 5 -25 vs. $1.50
These street prices of commonly trafficked ‘legit’ drugs are duplicated elsewhere throughout the world and it would be a matter of time before they will replace the traditional illicit drugs as the main source of the illlegal drug trade.
But the most troubling trend among drug abusers in the US, is the growing number of young teens that abuse prescription drugs, simply because if its deemed legal , it ought to be safer, especially since they see adults getting it prescribed from their doctors. Enter a new phrase in the urban dictionary: skittle parties*.
(skittle parties: a party where a bunch of teenagers or young adults get together with a lot of random pills,usually taken from parents’ medicine cabinets, put them all into a pile and every one takes a few at random).
- FDA ‘Bad Ad’ Program Raises Awareness of Provider Role in Ensuring Truthful Prescription Drug Promotion (forum.thenewalchemist.com)
- NY AG Schneiderman Calls for Statewide Drug Database (nyconvergence.com)
- America’s fatal addiction to prescription drugs | David Kloth (guardian.co.uk)