of doctor-shopping become in Las Vegas?
Will the investigation into
Jackson's prescription drug abuse
lead back to the Las Vegas medical community,
given Jackson spent a good deal
of time here in recent years?
Will the intense scrutiny uncover more leads
in Danny Gans' drug-related death?
Norm's column, in which he interviews an anonymous doctor who claims Jackson's handlers once tried to intimidate him into prescribing painkillers under someone else's name," directly connects Jackson's apparent overdose death to Gans'.
Norm also extends the accusation of "doctor shopping" (requesting care from multiple physicians, often simultaneously, without making efforts to coordinate care, usually due to a patient's addiction to prescription drugs) in Las Vegas to at least one "high profile casino executive."
The column is all the more extraordinary for several reasons:
* The exact cause of Jackson's death won't be known for weeks, until toxicology reports are completed;
* The Las Vegas news media had refused to speculate about or investigate Gans' untimely death, claiming they could do nothing until toxcicology reports were completed;
* The talk of the town in Vegas was and is Gans' alleged use of steroids and prescription drugs;
* No one in the mainstream Las Vegas news media opened the floodgates of revelations about Gans once it was revealed that the supposedly Born Again Christian former athlete had died from a dose of hydromorphone, otherwise known as Dilaudid or "drug store heroin."
Leave it to the gossip columnist.
Just as his jaunty eyepatch is key to his image, Norm's candid reporting is a hallmark of his work. As a gossip columnist, he is known to plant unconfirmed items from publicists-- or, in the Danny Gans case, from Gans' manager and close female friend who were on a campaign to mislead the public about the musical impressionist's lifestyle-- but his job also frees him to write whatever he wants to fill the space (after the coroner's report on Gans was released, he was the only one to copy our report that Gans was now linked to Vegas legend Elvis Presley though Dilaudud).
This morning he writes about a doctor who claims he was called to Jackson's suite at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in 2003 (owned at the time by Steve Wynn, and the home of Danny Gans' show ):
"The doctor's experience with Jackson raises several questions: How widespread has the practice of doctor-shopping become in Las Vegas? Will the investigation into Jackson's prescription drug abuse lead back to the Las Vegas medical community, given Jackson spent a good deal of time here in recent years? Will the intense scrutiny uncover more leads in Danny Gans' drug-related death?
"'Doctor-shopping 'has become very common,' he said.
"The meeting with Jackson wasn't the first time the physician felt pressured to accommodate a VIP.
"He treated a high profile casino executive who wanted sleeping pills. A week later, the executive wanted a refill and a week after that he requested another refill 'and I said no -- and my services are no longer required.'
"The sad thing, he said, is that someone else filled the void.
"'It's Elvis Presley all over again.'Though we've criticized Norm for the recent Gans factoids he spread, the joy with which he covers his beat and his excitement over getting a scoop-- see his constant, compulsive Twitter posts-- sets him apart from the corrupt editors and scaredy-cat reporters who are content to keep their heads down so they don't join the ranks of the laid-off.
The speculation in Las Vegas-- and knowledge among many reporters and editors-- is that Danny Gans got his prescription drugs from more than one doctor, as well as from members of his entourage.
Norm's single sentence in the nineteenth paragraph of a gossip column, could be the spark that sets off the explosive coverage that will blow this lid off off a scandal that goes far beyond the hypocrisy of Danny Gans.
The realization of what slipped through on the weekend will surely cause editor Tom Mitchell to tear off his three-beaver Resistol, toss it on the floor and jump up and down on it, yelling, "Dag nab it! Dad burn it!"
Norm's column could also convince a reporter to interview a doctor or musician under the cover of anonymity.
It could even lead to some real independent journalism in a city where journalism isn't merely dying, but slowly killing itself with painkillers.