Monday, April 04, 2005

Misconceptions on pain meds could jail doctor for life

-Reason Online tackles the Hurwitz case

"In December, after a federal jury convicted McLean, Virginia, pain doctor William Hurwitz of running a drug trafficking operation, the foreman told The Washington Post "he wasn't running a criminal enterprise." Don't bother reading that sentence again; it's not going to make any more sense the second time around."

"Hurwitz, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14 and will go to prison for life if U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler follows the prosecutors' recommendation, was charged with drug trafficking because a small minority of his patients abused or sold narcotic painkillers he prescribed for them.

"Although the jurors apparently considered [the high doses he prescribed] inherently suspicious, they are necessary for treating severe chronic pain because patients develop tolerance to the analgesic effects of narcotics. The prosecution deliberately obscured these points during Hurwitz's trial, relying on the jurors' ignorance of pain treatment principles to convict him.

See Also WagNews: Life Term for Doctor : 'Insane' and 'Obscene' Friday 11th March Audio
Interview: Ken Hurwitz, brother of Dr. William Hurwitz
Listen Here or Download & Listen


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