Trusting Doctor could get life

Jacob Sullom discusses the Hurwitz case at Reason Online in Trust Busters: A pain doctor’s drug trafficking conviction sets a chilling precedent

… the prosecutors got the jury to overlook the obvious weaknesses in their case and convict Hurwitz, in essence, of trusting his patients too much.

That verdict sends a clear message to doctors that it’s better to err on the side of suspicion. Knowing they could be prosecuted for believing a patient who turned out to be an addict or a dealer, doctors will be even less inclined to take the risk, compounding the already appalling problem of people in pain who suffer needlessly because physicians are afraid to help them.

Hurwitz was not afraid, which is why desperate patients flocked to him. Inevitably, he also attracted people who sought to take advantage of his compassion. Yet none of the surreptitiously recorded conversations with patients-turned-informants that the prosecution presented included any acknowledgment of the conspiracy Hurwitz supposedly led.

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