Going in to federal court today, Dr. Xiulu Ruan seemed calm and collected. Inside the courtroom, his attorney entered a plea of not guilty to conspiring to distribute a controlled substance and committing healthcare fraud. His trial will begin in early August.
Meanwhile, I talked with Lance Bell, a registered nurse, whose wife suffers from chronic pain.
“She has chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and she has some lower back issues, sciatica and things like that,” says Bell.
And she is just one of hundreds of patients now without a way to get the pain medication they need. Bell says many turn to the ER, which is a problem.
“But the ER’s are always full. But the ER’s won’t give them pain medication, they will admit them for withdrawal,” says Bell.
Which takes up a bed for several days, but that only helps the addicts and not others in the area like industrial workers—of which there are many in the Mobile area—who suffer from real pain.
“None of the doctors are actually advocating for the patients, the coverage on the news is all about the doctor and the big drug deals which has nothing to do with his legitimate patients,” says Bell.
He wonders why the Medical Society of Mobile County hasn’t stepped up to create something like an emergency clinic for those patients. So, we went to president of the society and asked him just that.
“I discussed the clinic idea with one of the physicians and I don’t think anyone in the society would be willing to man a clinic and put themselves at risk for writing prescriptions for narcotics,” says Dr. Raymond Broughton.
Instead, they’ve been proactive another way.
“We’ve formulated a list of physicians who are willing to take patients on if the primary care physicians are not comfortable with writing prescriptions for them,” says Broughton.
All you have to do is go to your primary care doctor who can get that list from the society.
Dr. John Couch was in federal court last week and also pleaded not guilty. We checked back in with Lance, the registered nurse, he said he was happy the society was taking action.