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Cross-Exam Helps Physician on Trial for Drug Trafficking

Posted Apr 24, 2007 9:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Testimony by an expert witness for prosecutors who was unable to help a patient suffering from severe migraines ended up aiding the physician on trial for drug trafficking, according to a New York Times analysis.

At issue in the trial of William E. Hurwitz in Alexandria, Va., is whether he knowingly prescribed painkillers knowing they would be used for nonmedical purposes.

Dr. Robin Hamill-Ruth told prosecutors that Hurwitz prescribed high doses of OxyContin even though he saw warning signs the drug was being misused. But under cross-examination, the defense asked Hamill-Ruth about one of her patients who did not get relief from severe headaches until she was treated by Hurwitz.

“I think he truly understood the nature of what I was going through,” the patient later testified.

The case is now before the jury.

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