Weitzel Prosecution Condemned by Leading Pain Specialist 8/17/01

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DRCNet reported two weeks ago on the case of Dr. Weitzel (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/197.html#drweitzel), a Utah physician who spent six months in state prison before a judge threw out his conviction as improper. At issue are pain treatment practices that prosecutors portrayed as murder but supporters consider proper and compassionate care.

The same day, one of the nation's leading pain treatment specialists weighed in on the issue, defending Dr. Weitzel and strongly condemning county prosecutors in an editorial titled "Prosecutors Disregarded Compassionate Care," published in the Ogden Standard Examiner, a newspaper based in Weitzel's Davis County, on Friday, August 3rd.

Dr. Stratton Hill, founder of the Pain Service at the University of Texas and 1995 recipient of the American Cancer Society Humanitarian Award, wrote the following:

"I testified for Dr. Robert Weitzel during his murder trial last summer in Davis County. In my opinion, this was one of the most egregious abuses of government power I have ever witnessed. The Davis County prosecutors were, and continue to be, misinformed and misguided. They demonstrated utter disregard for the quality of life of the citizens in their county who suffer painful and distressing symptoms often associated with the end of life. They performed, and continue to perform, a disservice to the people of the entire state of Utah.

"Their misinformed and misguided efforts are setting back compassionate, distressing-symptom-relief care for patients who suffer chronic, painful medical conditions to the Neanderthal Age.

"Physicians cannot afford to risk regulatory sanctions and criminal conviction for providing appropriate care for their patients.

"Nothing in the records of the patients under Dr. Weitzel's care that I reviewed remotely suggested any criminal behavior. He provided compassionate, proper medical care to patients with highly complicated medical problems that fell well within the standard of practice for treating such patients.

"It is time for Utahns to remove such despotic and irresponsible prosecutors who are doing nothing to "protect" them and, indeed, are doing them a disservice. Physicians must determine what is proper medical care for patients and not policemen and/or prosecutors.

"Dr. Weitzel continues to be victimized by individuals who are out of control. Charges against him should be dropped, and the State Bar of Utah should take disciplinary action against the Davis County prosecutors."

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Issue #199, 8/17/01 Editorial: Let Justice Be Done | US Global Lead in Imprisonment Still Safe: State Prison Populations Begin to Decline but Feds Make Up Difference | Prison Industry Confab Gets Heated Reception in Philadelphia | Mandatory Minimums Under Threat, Supreme Court Showdown Looming After 9th Circuit Rules Against Certain Drug Sentencing Laws | Oregon Bar Ethics Brouhaha Continues: Feds Still Refusing to Authorize Undercover Operations, State Narcs Could Be Out There | Department of Education Cites Pressure to Modify Restrictions on Financial Aid | Australia: Top Cops Propose "Heroin Bank," Political Firestorm Ensues as Prime Minister Nixes Idea | Chess Players Become Drug Tested Pawns in Game's Bid for Olympic Status, Players Not Amused | Vermont Governor Leads Way in Restricting Oxycontin for the Poor | Weitzel Prosecution Condemned by Leading Pain Specialist | Marijuana Extracts for Pain Study to Begin in Canada | DRCNet Book Review: Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System | T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month | Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters | HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent | The Reformer's Calendar
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