Patient Suicides Follow Suspension of Doctor's Medical License


Frequent use has nearly taken the oomph out of the word "tragic," but I posit that there's no better one-word summary for this news:

Jeff Prince was working on a story about a group of patients who were helping their doctor try to regain his medical license. The doc specialized in treating chronic pain and was the only professional in the area willing to prescribe drugs like oxycodone, so when his license was suspended his patients went without meds. One such patient was David Noblett, who sustained severe back injuries in the Vietnam war that gave him decades of agony. As Prince was wrapping up the story, he called Noblett at home to let him know he was coming over to snap a cover photo. But when Prince arrived 30 minutes later, he found Noblett slumped in a chair, dead. The doctor tells the [Fort Worth Weekly] that four of his patients have committed suicide since his license was suspended.

For another good read on the under-reported effects of prescription drug regulation, check out Jacob Sullum's piece on Richard Paey.