“Chronic pain costs $600 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity exceeding the costs associated with heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.”
“And in 2017, over 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids—a two-fold increase in a decade.”Annals of Internal Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
Many years ago I represented a client fired from a bookkeeping job at a medical clinic. She complained about insurance fraud. The doctors she worked for were billing insurance companies for medical services they didn’t perform. When she spoke up, they fired her.
The case is in the public record. It exploded when a former nurse testified under oath that the father/son doctor team were illegally prescribing narcotic pain killers to hundreds of patients turning them into dependent drug addicts. (Let’s give them imaginary names. The father, Dr. Henry Fitch, the son, Dr. Gregory Fitch. ) Early on Monday mornings, a long line of addicted patients formed in front of the clinic waiting to pay seventy-five dollars cash for Vicodin, OxyContin, and codeine refills.
The wrongful termination case settled shortly before trial. My firm took a big hit financially in lost time and costs, and what was worse, there was no proportional justice in the case’s resolution. The arrogant doctors continued dispensing opioids with impunity.
The best I could do was report their misconduct to law enforcement, which I did. The problem was the various agencies governing physician misconduct were reluctant to crack down (no pun intended) on this genre of criminal medical malpractice.
Despondent, licking my wounds, I asked God to restore my confidence. The still small voice said in response, “Vengeance is mine.”
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.Romans 12:19 NKJV
Fourteen years later, I called a friend who worked down the street from the medical clinic. I asked him about the clinic on a whim.
“You didn’t hear? The State of California revoked Henry’s license eight years ago. He cleared out his bank and retirement accounts, left his wife, and moved to Las Vegas where he blew through his money gambling. The police found him dead in a hotel room from a brain tumor.”
“What?” I pulled off the road in shock.
“Yep. Two years later Gregory had a massive stroke leaving him paralyzed from the neck down with diminished brain function. His ex-wife had moved to Chicago and took him in.”
The Desert Clinic, my second novel, now in development, tells the story of a crusading plaintiff’s lawyer and a whistleblowing pharmacologist who uncover a multi-billion dollar criminal organization between a large pharmaceutical firm, medical doctors, and pharmacists.
The story, inspired by real events, takes hard look at the personal lives of those enmeshed in this medical and public policy nightmare. Over one hundred people die every day from opioid overdoses. And with the recent Draconian crackdown on prescriptions, patients with acute pain unable to get opioids legally turn to illicit drugs and sometimes suicide. As I’ve researched and written, I’ve had to remind myself again and again that God is the one who ultimately brings justice to those who are abused and oppressed. But He is trustworthy, and He is just. He will repay.
We are nearing the finish line at this point. You’ll be hearing more from me on this topic as the book nears publication. But for now, you all know what I’ve been up to the last few months.