V.I.P. (Very Important Patients): Health Care Professionals Risk Their Jobs For Star Athletes

Should pro athletes get special treatment when it comes to health care?

By: Taren Vaughan

Professional athletes have a tendency to get the perks that normal, everyday people do not receive. Instant access to the hottest parties, superior service at fancy restaurants and the best seating at major events; they get the all around star treatment. These athletes become so accustomed to everyone kissing the ground that they walk on and responding to their every command or request. But sometimes they can simply take things a tad bit too far.

This past May, San Diego Chargers safety Kevin Ellison was caught with 100 tablets of the pain medication Vicodin (generic name “hydrocodone”) in his car. Clearly, Ellison had no legal prescription for these pills which led to his arrest. Now Vicodin is far from crack cocaine or any other hard core street drug. But it can still be misused just like anything else. And in this era, prescription drug abuse is definitely at a high. The biggest question is why didn’t Ellison just get his doctor to write him a prescription for the medicine? I mean was he too good to go to the clinic like everyone else?

Well apparently he did but it seems as though his team is affiliated with some shady doctors and pharmacists. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), ten “administrative inspection warrants” have been served at all health care parties including area pharmacies and doctors who are associated with both the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Padres. Ten warrants may not seem like an outstanding number. But trust and believe no professional sports organization wants to be accused and found guilty of being involved in such a scandal. This is not a good look for San Diego pro sports. What is going on out there in Cali? I guess we can’t be too hard on the Chargers though. I’m pretty sure that they are not the only pro team out there pulling a stunt like this. Furthermore, what is the deal with the guilty doctors and pharmacists?

Working as team physicians and pharmacists for a professional athletic program can mean huge dollars. At the same token, one may be asked to do some unethical things at the expense of their hard earned careers. Is it really worth the risk? As much time and money pharmacists and doctors spend getting their degrees, not even a million dollar franchise player should cause them to jeopardize their licenses. As for the players themselves, they must remember that they are not immune to the health care system’s policies. They have to abide by the rules and regulations like anyone else. Ellison was not the first and he probably won’t be the last to end up in a situation like this. Professional athletes, their doctors, pharmacists and whomever else they are involved with should really take this matter seriously. A few pills could lead to jail time and a ruined career. It’s just not worth it.

Source: CNN

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