PAIN DOCTOR RE-SENTENCED TO 57 MONTHS:
Everything’s relative, and the 57 month prison term imposed on “pain doctor” William Hurwitz is indeed a welcome reduction from the 25 year sentence following the first trial. (Washington Post, July 14, 2007) And yet, Judge Brinkema’s sentence seems at odds with her conclusion that “An increasing body of respectable medical literature and expertise supports those types of high-dosage, opioid medications” that Dr. Hurwitz prescribed. So what was the rationale for adding another 27 months to the 30 months Dr. Hurwitz has already been incarcerated?
Criminal prosecutions rarely have much of a deterrent value, but this case is an exception. The threat of severe criminal sanctions will deter many compassionate, ethical physicians from ordering the amount of pain-killing medication that patients need to be freed of chronic, incapacitating pain.