Ind. Doctor Killed After Refusing to Prescribe Opioids
The doctor was gunned down by a patient’s husband who was angry that he would not prescribe opioids for his wife’s chronic pain.
An Indiana man fatally shot an orthopedic doctor in a hospital parking lot on Wednesday after he refused to prescribe his wife with opioid medication.
The victim, Doctor Todd Graham, 56, worked at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka. He was gunned down by 48-year-old Michael Jarvis of Mishawaka.
Saint Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says Graham would not prescribe the shooter’s wife with opioids for her chronic pain following a scheduled appointment.
Cotter says it was Graham’s opinion that chronic pain did not require prescription drugs.
“He did what we ask our doctors to do: Don’t overprescribe opioid, and, unfortunately, for whatever reason, Jarvis made that choice to take his life.”
Jarvis returned a few hours after the appointment and shot Graham twice in the head.
Officials say there were two witnesses of the event in the parking lot. Jarvis reportedly approached them and asked them to leave before shooting Graham.
Jarvis later drove to a friend’s house about three miles from the facility. Jarvis indicated to his friend that he was “not going to be around”. His friend called the police who arrived and found Jarvis dead from two self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett told the Tribune that he believes the shooting would have been much worse if Jarvis had entered the facility.
“If Jarvis would have gotten inside that building, although there would have been a specific target, it’s like trapping an animal in a corner, they’re going to come out fighting, and I truly believe this could have escalated into a mass shooting,” he said.
Cotter advised that investigators after still trying to determine whether drug addiction played a role in the killing, according to the Washington Post. They are looking into both Jarvis and his wife’s medical records to see if either had previously been prescribed opioids. Cotter did not say which type of opioid medication Jarvis was seeking.
Doctor Graham studied at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago and completed his residency at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
“His partners not only valued him as a physician and for his business acumen, but also gave him the most meaningful gift of all — their friendship,” reads his obituary.
Doctor Graham is survived by his wife and three children.