On July 12, 2012, a California doctor was arrested for allegedly running a pill mill (a medical clinic where prescription medications are readily and easily prescribed, available, and/or dispensed with little or no proper legitimate medical need). The doctor had been under investigation for about two months during which he allegedly wrote prescriptions for three undercover deputy sheriffs who were posing as patients.
The investigation began when information was received that the doctor and his clinic were well known among drug addicts for providing prescriptions for medications that are known to be abused in exchange for cash that the doctor allegedly pocketed. It was even rumored that the doctor requested his “patients” to tip his receptionist $50 for her “time and troubles.”
One of the undercover deputy sheriffs arrived at the 69-year-old doctor’s urgent care clinic with x-rays that she provided him in support of her complaints of back and neck pain from an alleged car accident that happened two weeks prior, requesting that the doctor provide her with much stronger medications than the Tylenol that she said she was taking. The doctor reportedly asked the deputy sheriff questions such as “Do you want to try Vicodin ES?” “Or do you want to try others? … Roxicodone? Or oxycodone? … Or whatever you want…. Maybe some Valium or Xanax” before the undercover agent chose Roxicodone.
The doctor reportedly examined the two x-rays provided by the undercover investigator, pointing out on the x-rays the hip joint and other bones. However, the x-rays that the doctor viewed were actually those for a German shepard dog named Recon; the x-rays even had the animal hospital’s name imprinted on them.
The doctor was no stranger to controversy and professional difficulties, including a prior felony conviction for allegedly taking illegal kickbacks for referring Medicare patients for unnecessary home health services, having his medical license placed on probation by the Medical Board of California in 1996 after being accused of excessively prescribing medications, etc., and being forced by the Medical Board of California to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in 2010 that reportedly cited concerns about the doctor’s early signs of dementia.
The vast majority of physicians are professional, competent, and hard-working in their efforts to help their patients. However, a small minority of doctors place their own needs and interests above those of their patients to whom they owe the highest duty to provide timely, necessary and appropriate medical care and treatment. Those physicians who place the well-being of their patients below some self-centered and self-interested personal goals should be fully investigated, and prompt and appropriate disciplinary or other proper action should be taken against them in order to protect their patients and the public in general.
If you have become the victim of medical malpractice in California or in your state, you should promptly consult with a California medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you.
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