Saturday, March 14, 2009

They did kill her after all

Has everyone heard that two of Anna Nicole Smith's doctors (one being her primary care doc and one being her psychiatrist) and her main man Howard K. Stern have been charged in with her death? Well, you have now.

I am really shocked about the whole deal. But not for the reasons you may think.

For those that are new, I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I have the power to prescribe medications including the ones that resulted in Ms. Smith's death. I remember reading through the list of meds that she was taking when she died. They included multiple pain medications and benzos (anti-anxiety/muscle relaxants) and a few hypnotics (medications that make you sleep).

I was not shocked at her medication list.

I have seen lists like that many times. It's called polypharmacy and it is very common in the United States. Sometimes, people demand a lot from medication. They can demand that it fix everything that upsets them. Somes, people also have underlying addictions to alcohol and other drugs and when they try to sober up, they seek out prescription meds to fill the void. Some are not willing to take no for an answer.

I have a lot of experience with this. And I say no. Which RESULTS IN THIS POST.

But, I am one of a million prescribers out there. Not all of us are such high minded folks. No pun intended.

When the addict won't take no for an answer, they will find another prescriber. Sometimes they will see two or three prescribers, often using different clinics, different pharmacies, all to fill their addiction. They will seek care under different names. That way, the pharmacies won't catch on. Other addictive behavior includes lying to the prescribers to get early refills, saying things like, "the pill bottle was in my coat and i gave my coat to good will" or "it was in my pants and I washed it" or "it was in my car and my car was stolen". All bullshit addict talk. All bullshit addict game playing. All sad and part of the problem.

I have been a nurse long enough to see this kind of addict behavior a mile a way. Which is good, as I am not part of the problem. I am part of the solution.

Yet the doctor and the psychiatrist that tended to Anna Nicole? There is no way they did not understand what they were doing. Which was killing her. And they were doing it for greed and personal gain. And I am shocked people. Shocked they were charged. Noone calls out prescribers for polypharmacy. We all kind of sigh and pass it off.

I really think I have become too complacent with all of this. With seeing the laundry lists of multiple meds. I need to be more vigilant with my patients' care. Call attention to medication lists that will kill them. Either way, I hope the doctors get the chair.

It's a good thing the doctors were charged. Maybe that will help all of us pony up more. Be better at what we do, which is help people.

Let me end with another blogger's summary of the incident, which is supurb. It is from the site, What Would Tyler Durden DO? It sums it all up just fine.

Anna Nicole Smith died on February 8, 2007, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, from an overdose of the sedative chloral hydrate combined with three different types of the sedative benzodiazepine. Her autopsy said her death was not homicide, suicide, or natural causes. Unfortunately for her lawyer Howard K. Stern, the autopsy doctor is not a cop, and the cops make a frowny face when you give a drug addict barrels full of psychoactive drugs whose primary function is to slow down the central nervous system.

5 Left a message at the beep:

Steph said...

It's just all too sad, and all too common.

Holly Hall said...

Hey Steph!!

I was wondering if you still read my blog. Well, thanks for commenting :)

and yeah, sad and common.

take care and I am excited to hear that your thyriod is balanced. and loved the post where you wrote your Dad.

I still read your blog too, been too busy/tired to comment. But I still read and I still really enjoy.

take care


Big Pissy said...

I completely agree with Steph: all too sad and all too common. :(

Cam@Journey Wildly said...

It was a trainwreck we all saw coming, but no one aboard was putting on the brakes...

The pain was absolutely palpable.

Holly Hall said...

Pissy: Yeah, so sad.

Cam: It indeed was a trainwreck. I don't think anyone could have put the brakes on. I mean, when there is money, greed and no controls on the situation, well, it's just no good.

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