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Information for people contemplating
a career in emergency medicine and
other medical specialties

By Kevin Pezzi, MD


The ultimate temptation for an ER doctor; a lesson for Michael Jackson's physicians?

Q: Some of Michael Jackson's doctors are being investigated for possible professional misconduct in prescribing drugs for him that now appear to have caused or contributed to his death. Do you think this is fair, or is just after the fact After something (especially a crime) has taken place Monday morning quarterbacking Criticizing or passing judgment from a position of hindsight?

Answer by , MD: Based on what I've read so far, it appears that doctors prescribed drugs for Jackson based not on medical need, but on what seems to be a desire to curry favor with To try to win favor from someone through flattery, fawning, or brown-nosing The King of Pop. If the allegations are true, the doctors should be punished. In the past few decades, several doctors, hoping to ingratiate To strive to gain the favor of someone by flattery or otherwise trying to please them themselves with their celebrity patients, have prescribed drugs for them that killed them.

I've had some celebrity patients. I've exchanged Christmas cards with some of them, and given them copies of my books. However, I've done the same for Main Street people, too. It never occurred to me that I should lower my standards for prescribing drugs just because the patient was rich and famous, or exceptionally beautiful. Not that some people didn't try to entice me. I'll tell you about one of those cases.

My patient was more beautiful than this model

The patient had a rather straightforward offer: she would give me a surprisingly large amount of money to write a prescription for a powerful narcotic. As an added bonus, she offered to sleep with me. She was one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. She had it all: silky shiny hair, perfect skin, mesmerizing eyes, a gorgeous face, and a stunningly hot body. To top it off, she wasn't just beautiful, but cute and oh-so-sexy, too. And evidently quite rich. She was the stuff that dreams are made of, but I knew her offer was the stuff that nightmares are made of. So I said no. Then she upped the offer by saying that she would sleep with me repeatedly—no doubt for repeated narcotic prescriptions, I instinctively knew.

At the time I saw this woman in the ER, I hadn't had a girlfriend in so long that I couldn't exactly remember what sex felt like. I was eager to refresh my memory, and this was perhaps the only chance I'd ever have to sleep with a woman who was more enticing that any model I'd ever seen on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. But I didn't go to medical school to become a drug pusher, so I said no.

Perhaps assuming that her request for drugs might lead me to assume that she had possibly used illegal ones that might heighten her risk of HIV or hepatitis, she was savvy enough to mention that she never used such drugs, assuring me that I could enjoy what she had to offer without contracting any diseases.

Trust me, there is nothing that men want more than women with whiplash-inducing beauty. Physically, I wanted her about as much as a person wants a glass of water after three days in a hot desert without drinking, but no amount of physical temptation could reverse my “no” decision.

This visibly annoyed her, because she couldn't understand how any man could resist her. I've had other very attractive women make similar offers, but I turned them down, too. It would have been so easy to “justify” those narcotic prescriptions:

UNETHICAL MD: Are you having back pain? (wink-wink)

BEAUTIFUL DRUG-SEEKING PATIENT: (thinking, “Oh, I know what he's getting at!”) Oh, yes, Doctor. Pain. Bad pain. My back is really hurting!

UNETHICAL MD: In that case, let's not waste any time so I can get in your pants—uh, I mean, provide the pain relief you so clearly need. I bet that you are allergic to Motrin and every NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) in existence, aren't you?

BEAUTIFUL DRUG-SEEKING PATIENT: Yes, Doctor, I am highly allergic to every analgesic that doesn't give me a euphoric buzz. They cause me to break out in acne.

UNETHICAL MD: You mean “hives.”

BEAUTIFUL DRUG-SEEKING PATIENT: Yes, Doctor, hives. I am in so much pain that I can barely think straight. I also have difficulty seeing.

UNETHICAL MD: You mean “difficulty breathing.”

BEAUTIFUL DRUG-SEEKING PATIENT: Yes, Doctor, my throat closes up. I can barely breathe. Actually, my vision is fine. I can see how handsome you are, and I can see that you have no ring on your finger. It would be a shame for a man as smart and handsome as you to spend the evening alone this Friday night. I am a very friendly person, if you know what I mean, and I'd be very grateful if all of my pain is gone (wink-wink), so if you give me oxycodone instead of codeine . . . well, let's just say that we'll both be smiling! If you prescribe lots of pills, I could spend the whole weekend with you, 'cause I wouldn't have to go out searching for another unethical ER doctor—I mean, another doctor who just might be more willing to give me the drugs I want—uh, need for this terrible pain. You know, this is such a small town, you probably don't have a chance to meet many women who are as gorgeous as I am, so it would be such a shame if we didn't get to see one another after this weekend.

UNETHICAL MD: No need to shop around for another doctor. I just read a study which proved beyond a reasonable doubt that slim gorgeous women like you with large breasts have pain that can only be controlled by large doses of potent narcotics. The researchers weren't sure why that is, so they advised further study of your delicious body—uh, this tragic problem, which I am more than willing to do. It's my Hippocratic obligation.

BEAUTIFUL DRUG-SEEKING PATIENT: Oh, Doctor, you're not just handsome and smart, but ethical, too! I think we're going to be together for a long time! By the way, my twin sister has the same back problem I do. We're identical twins, so our bodies are virtually identical. I wouldn't mind sharing you with her if you can help end her terrible suffering, too. It breaks my heart to see her in such agony.

UNETHICAL MD: (thinking, “I've hit the jackpot!”) Of course I'll treat her, too. I am professionally obligated to treat every woman who is smoking hot—uh, every patient who needs me.

There are some things you just don't do, regardless of the inducement.

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