A three-week court hearing about the roles of two doctors in the death of Anna Nicole Smith ended last week with a judge ordering the doctors and Smith’s long-time companion to stand trial on charges of illegally supplying her with prescription drugs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Amen. Hallelujah. God bless America.
It’s about time.
Smith died 2-1/2 years ago. The medical examiner found a smorgasbord of benzodiazepines in her blood – but no antidepressants. According to reports, she had fallen into a deep depression after her son died in her hospital room, where she had given birth to her daughter just hours earlier. Anna Nicole Smith was 39-years-old. The cause of her death was “combined drug intoxication.” Simply put, she overdosed. But according to prosecutor, Smith did not overdose. Her doctors overdosed her. And now, two of them are looking at prison.
Why is this case so significant? Because finally, someone with some clout has finally realized that doctors who irresponsibly prescribe drugs such as Ativan, Klonopin and Valium – to patients they know are addicts and alcoholics must be held responsible. It was obvious that Smith was an addict/alcoholic. Anyone who watched her reality television show knew that.
Still, her doctors wrote prescriptions – sometimes under an alias – for drugs that are widely prescribed for anxiety and depression and widely abused by addicts/alcoholics. Drugs like Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication. My mother took it in hospice, and, boy, did it work. Klonopin is the drug to which Stevie Nicks was addicted. And Valium, well, let’s just say a lot of us know what Valium feels like. Then there was Soma and Methadone, both habit-forming. And finally Noctec, a very old sedative that is rarely used and must be used — especially by an addict and/or alcoholic — with extreme caution.
If that isn’t criminal malpractice I do not know what it. We saw the same thing with Michael Jackson, whose death was ruled a homicide by drug overdose. Jackson’s doctor has not been charged. However, the doctor prescribed drugs to Jackson – including the benzodiazepine lorazepam – despite Jackson’s well documented drug abuse.
Doctors must understand that prescribing …