Dr. Murder Convicted…It’s A Good Start


29 Aug 2013, West End, Grand Bahama, Bahamas --- Silhouette of circling sharks --- Image by © Stephen Frink/Corbis

There’s an old joke about lawyers (one of many). It goes, “What are 300 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?” And the punchline is, “It’s a good start.” Here’s another good start.

For the first time in US history, a physician has been convicted of second degree murder for over-prescribing opioids for a patient. Writing in BMJ2015, Michael McCarthy reports that a Los Angeles doctor was found guilty in a jury trial on 23 counts, 19 of which involved prescribing an unlawful controlled substance.

Again, for the first time in US history.

The prosecutor noted that, “You can’t hide behind a white lab coat and commit crimes. Writing a prescription to someone knowing that they’re going to abuse it and potentially die was the theory of second degree murder that we had.” In the three years that the authorities were watching, the doctor grossed over $5 million and had three patient deaths, men ages 28, 24 and 21. Despite the deaths, all in 2009, the doctor continued to prescribe excessive amounts of opioids and sedatives.

While this happened in California, these are your claimants, employees, etc. Your people are dying as well. Time and again, patients overdose on drugs for which they had a prescription. You are in a position to have a positive impact on this situation by monitoring the controlled substances your insurance plan authorizes. Today it’s a physician in California who is being held liable. It won’t be long before it’s an employer or insurer who will be facing liability as well.

Be proactive. Be watchful. Know what’s happening with drugs that are being authorized under your plans. We can help you with this. We can all save lives. We can give new meaning to “It’s a good start.”

Call us. We can do better.

William Faris, JD
Chief Executive Officer

Posted in OMCA