OK you folks out there -- ask yourself if you would like the following standard for going to jail applied to yourself.
Over the weekend, Dr. Hurwitz was convicted on drug trafficking charges when it was found that some of his patients were reselling their pain pills without his knowledge. John Tierney interviewed several of the jurors: (via Hit and Run)
The evidence in the case "“ including conversatons during office
visits that were furtively recorded by patients cooperating with
narcotics agents "“ showed that Dr. Hurwitz was being conned. On one
recording, a patient who'd been selling his OxyContins bragged to his
wife (and fellow dealer) that Dr. Hurwitz "trusts the [expletive] out
"Those patients used the doctor shamelessly," said a juror I'll call
Juror 1. (All three jurors, citing the controversy over the case, spoke
to me on condition of anonymity, so I'll refer to them by numbers.)
This juror added, "They exploited him. I didn't see him getting
anything financial out of it. Many of his patients weren't even paying
him. He had to believe that he was just treating them for pain."
The other jurors agreed. "There was no financial benefit to him that
was very evident to us," Juror 2 said. "It was a really hard case for
all of us. I think that Dr. Hurwitz really did care about his patients."
So why convict him? "There were just some times he fell down on the
job," Juror 2 said. The third juror echoed that argument using the
prosecution's language: "There were red flags he should have seen."
Plenty of doctors would agree that he should have paid more
attention to those warning signs. Plenty would agree that he fell down
on the job. Some have already said he should have lost his medical
license. But falling down on the job is generally not a criminal
offense, especially when there's no criminal intent.
Any of you want to go to jail for making a mistake on the job? Note that this was NOT a malpractice case, and jurors were told that it was not. Hurwitz was convicted, in effect, for caring about and trusting his patients. Is this the message you want your doctor to get, that he should not trust what you say and should avoid fully treating your pain? Because that is the message your doctor just received.
Related case of Richard Paey here, who went to jail for 25 years for what a jury decided was over-medicating his pain.