Two Untimely Deaths

By | March 20, 2012

Two wasted lives.

I first learned that George (not his real name) had died yesterday afternoon when the phones at Schlesinger Pain Centers began ringing off the hook with his chronic pain patients looking to get an appointment. Like rats off a sinking ship these patients were desperate to find someone who would give them their next narcotic fix. I learned it was suicide when a pharmacy that serviced many of his patients called to ask if they could give out our phone number. My staff told the pharmacist that we don’t usually prescribe the doses of narcotics that George would write for and we never prescribe narcotics on the first visit but that we would be glad to see these patients in consultation and either take them on or make an appropriate referral. When the pharmacist confirmed my suspicions of suicide I began to wonder what could have driven a man that I had known for over 20 years to take his own life and what I should learn from his life and death. When I was discussing George’s death with my wife, who also happens to be a physician, she told me that he had treated a teenage boy with large doses of narcotics and that the boy had died of an overdose. The boy’s father, an attorney promised to devote the rest of his life to destroying George.

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