Is a California pain doctor — much-beloved by her patients and respected by her peers — really putting her patients at risk of death by overprescribing opioids to some and allowing others to be on dangerous combos of opioids and benzodiazepines?
That’s what the executive director of California’s Medical Board thinks — and she filed a formal complaint alleging as much, among a slew of other allegations. As a result, the doctor is now fighting for her license and ability to practice — with the support of many of her patients and others in the community.
It’s important to note that no patient is alleged to have actually died or suffered any harm under this doctor’s care. She also has noted that many of her patients were “inherited” from other doctors who already had them on excessively high doses of drugs — and she works with each of them individually to taper them off their medication. Otherwise, she says, many of them will (and have) resorted to buying drugs on the street — which really does put their lives in danger.
She considers the actions of many other doctors unconscionable, who — running scared of the reactionary measures being taken these days in the wake of the nation’s drug problems — have dumped pain patients without warning or drastically cut their pain medications without counseling or tapering the dose. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently stated that forcing patients to suddenly taper or discontinue high levels of opioids suddenly is something to avoid.
As for her own predicament with the Medical Board, the doctor says, “They were looking to put a head on a spike so they could claim they were doing something about the opioid crisis.” She may very well be right, too. These days, every regulatory authority is anxious to prove that they’re trying to stop the opioid crisis in its tracks — so scapegoating may be a problem.
If you find yourself in a similar situation with your medical license at risk, talk to an experienced attorney about how to best defend your license and your future ability to practice.