Friday, June 12, 2009

Dr. Fishell prescribes a new spin in explaining away Danny Gans' drug death

How to explain away the fact that the clean-living, athletic, Born Again Christian Las Vegas superstar Danny Gans died from an overdose of a drug that places him in entertainment infamy alongside slothful wastrels like Elvis Presley and Anna Nicole Smith? One way is for one of his old doctors to step forward with another theory about how Dilaudid, the powerful, powerful opiate that's known as "drug store heroin" (and several steps higher in intensity than Rush Limbaugh's "hillbilly heroin") wound up killing the man at 52.

The latest story emanating from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and spinning around the world has Dr. Michael Fishell claiming he wrote Gans a prescription for Dilaudid (hydromorphone) five years ago and suggests that Gans may have shunned the medicine because of his health-conscious ways, kept the bottle in his medicine cabinet all these years and unwittingly popped the single, 75% less-potent tablet that caused him to die in the early hours of May 1st.

Dr. Fishell, a pain specialist and anesthesiologist in Gans' hometown of Henderson, Nevada, took pains to insist he had not written Gans any recent prescriptions. He also said he tapped into the Nevada and California medical records database and found no current Danny Gans Dilaudid prescriptions.

Dr. Fishell's explanation removes himself from suspicion as the new Dr. Nick, and would go a long way in clearing up questions about "an insurance issue involving Danny Gans and his deal with Encore at Wynn Las Vegas that suggests Gans had concerns about his health," reported by Review-Journal gossip columnist Norm Clarke on May 14th. It would have been more helpful had a Review-Journal reporter interviewed the doctor in the days following Gans's death, as opposed to waiting more than 40 days-- especially since reporters and editors had already suspected painkillers as the culprit long before the Clark County Coroner's tightrope walk of an explanation was delivered on Tuesday.

The Review-Journal, however, did not pursue answers in the case at all. It did, however, print more than once the false story that Danny Gans ended his last show with an eerily prescient Bobby Darin song, and took time to make a deal with Gans' family to publish Gans' posthumous autobiography.

Just as the coroner refused to address the issue, Dr. Fishell didn't mention the steroids suspected because of the change in Gans' physical features. Or did the Review-Journal reporter even ask?

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