News of the Day ... In Perspective04/01/2006
U.S. doctors abandoning most vulnerable patients, says Arab News
Usually more concerned about U.S. law enforcement actions against Muslims, the “Middle East’s leading English language daily” is featuring the DEA’s crackdown on physicians who prescribe opioids for chronic pain, and the patients who receive them.
The cases of wheelchair-bound patient Richard Paey and “pioneering pain physician” William Hurwitz are but two of “hundreds of cases,” in which the U.S. government’s War on Drugs employs aggressive undercover investigation, asset forfeiture, and informers against physicians. Seizures of doctors’ homes, offices, and bank accounts may leave them with no resources for their defense.
“The Village Voice newspaper reports that medical schools are now advising students to avoid pain management practice altogether,” writes William Fisher in Arab News.
Fisher quotes Professor Ron Libby in saying that “Many doctors have been convicted and almost no one has been acquitted.”
“Frightened by what they term a `brutal display of executive power,’ most doctors, including those in the field of pain management, have simply abandoned this sickest and most vulnerable segment of America’s population,” Fisher states. And “those few who do treat chronic pain with opioids impose severe restrictions on patients’ freedoms.”