• Controlled Substances Act,  Drugs,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Risk, Reward and Pain: Doctor Lessons from An Opioid Trial

    Opioid medications continue to be in the news, as demonstrated by the recent nationwide state attorneys-general investigation.  This situation only demands more attention from physicians and other healthcare providers who may face significant criminal sanctions. My law partner Brandon Essig recently wrote in Medical Economics: Over the past three decades, opioids have become a standard and effective component of pain management for many practitioners. They are effectively and safely prescribed in every conceivable clinical environment—primary care facilities, hospitals, pain management clinics and even dentist offices. They are prescribed to treat chronic and intractable pain, such as advanced stage cancer pain or severe burns, but they are also prescribed to treat soft…

  • Controlled Substances Act,  Health Care

    Stethoscopes, Handcuffs and Pain

    When does managing pain become a crime? And, what can a healthcare provider do to stay out of trouble in these days of the “opioid epidemic”, new federal legislation and the criminal prosecution of doctors? I make a few suggestions here in Pain Management News: That’s the question many physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and physician assistants (PAs) are asking in the wake of a tidal wave of prosecutions related to pain medicine. This has been partly spurred on by the “opioid epidemic.” There has been a sharp spike in convictions—either by guilty plea or by conviction after a trial—of health care professionals involved in pain medicine.…

  • Cocktails

    Vermouth, Bitters and Black Coffee

    In speaking of the martini, Winston Churchill supposedly observed   “I would like to observe the vermouth from across the room while I drink my martini.”  Here is a recipe for a “Churchill martini,” which is basically a glass of cold gin. On the other hand, Julia Child supposedly went to the opposite extreme: a glass filled with vermouth and topped with gin, also known in this recipe as an “upside down martini.” I am no Churchill or Child, on several counts, but I have never understood the anti-vermouth wing of the martini party.  A martini is a cocktail.  A cocktail, by definition, is “an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or…

  • Congressional Investigations,  Impeachment

    Congressional Investigations, Criminal Cases and The Knights Who Say “Ni!”

    We are heading into what appears to be a summer of investigations along the Potomac, some of them in the House and Senate.  What are some of the things we might reasonably expect to see as investigations congressional and criminal cross paths?  And what does Monty Python have to do with it? Previously, I shared a few lessons about congressional investigations. First, the short-version video: Jack Sharman – Learning in Congress from Legal Filmworks Unlimited on Vimeo. Second, a longer how-to approach for lawyers and clients in a congressional investigation: In particular: We are in the summer months.  We have written before about  summer hearings: As a former oversight-and-investigations lawyer for…