The murder of an Indiana doctor who was gunned down after he refused to prescribe opioids has shaken many physicians and left them wondering how they should react if faced with a potentially violent patient.
Todd Graham, M.D., was killed by the husband of a patient who had asked him earlier that day for opioids to treat her chronic pain. The man, who later killed himself, went back to confront Graham for refusing to prescribe the painkillers, tracked him down in a parking lot, pulled out a gun and shot him.
Physicians around the country have grown increasingly accustomed to disputes over opioid prescribing. That comes in light of the country’s opioid epidemic and the direction to doctors to cut down on prescribing opioid pain medications.
Pain medicine specialists have their guard up, with efforts underway to train clinicians on how to avoid and de-escalate confrontations with patients, according to Medscape Medical News.
"Nobody would be surprised to hear that a pain-medicine physician was killed," Edward Michna, M.D., who serves on the board of directors of the American Pain Society, told the publication.
I will be holding a major briefing on the Opioid crisis, a major problem for our country, today at 3:00 P.M. in Bedminster, N.J.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2017
The commission outlined a number of immediate steps to reverse the country’s opioid epidemic, including a call to mandate prescriber education.
And, tired of the number of opioid deaths, Multnomah County in Oregon joined a list of other counties, cities and states across the country in filing a lawsuit against major U.S. pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of pushing doctors to overprescribe opioids despite addiction risks, according to The Oregonian. The county filed a $250 million lawsuit, seeking payback from drug companies for the lives lost and millions spent fighting the opioid crisis.