Last week, we discussed a phony San Francisco “doctor” who operated on patients without a license, injuring some and sexually assaulting others. Today, we have an even more chilling story of a doctor who abused her patients’ trust.
On Feb. 5, the doctor was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the murder of three patients. The doctor was previously convicted of allowing the patients to die by prescribing them painkillers, despite having strong reason to know that she was exploiting their drug addictions. She is believed to be the first doctor in U.S. history to be convicted of murder for prescribing drugs recklessly.
However, authorities say, she is not the only doctor to run a “pill mill,” where a medical clinic is little more than a front for prescribing powerful drugs.
According to CNN, the doctor’s California practice mostly consisted of young patients who drove a long way to see her and paid for their prescriptions in cash. After each of them died of overdoses in 2007 and 2008, the coroner’s office called to inform the doctor, but she considered them “FYI” calls and did nothing to change her practices.
California’s “MICRA” limits on financial recoveries by the victims of medical malpractice protects this doctor and similar doctors who practice contrary to the law. The heirs of the patients who were killed by this type of conduct are limited to a maximum recovery of $250,000 for the loss of their loved one’s care, comfort, emotional support, love and affection. And shockingly, doctors who practice consistent with the law support protecting wrongdoers like the “pill mill” doctor. The California Medical Association’s abandonment of personal responsibility removes any financial penalties for “pill mill” doctors. Having to pay civil damages is a powerful weapon against bad medical practice, but that weapon is missing in California.