A hard line to draw

Dr. Wayne Longmore

Somehow, it’s hard to believe that Dr. Wayne Longmore was a drug dealer. That’s apparently what he’s being charged with. He doesn’t seem to be a guy, despite what may seem to be a disorganized business model and one with an extraordinarily heavy load placed on one person, who would just write prescriptions for cash. That’s just an opinion here, and it’s in the face of an extremely damning complaint filed by federal prosecutors.

If we can assume our opinion for a moment — and the federal government will have ample opportunity to prove otherwise in court — there are a few questions that sit on the table that we’d want to see answered before consigning the doctor to permanent purgatory, or worse.

First, the investigation was said to be three years in the making. Dr. Longmore’s practice was under the supervision of the Committee for Physician’s Health for five years after his license to practice was restored in 2005. The investigation began in 2009, but Longmore was under supervision until 2010. Did the oversight committee see anything? We presume it had the mission to guide Dr. Longmore’s practice…why did it say nothing? If there were abuses of the kind of which he is accused, why was he not confronted, warned, or cited for them by this oversight committee?

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The complaint filed against him says that 85 percent of all prescriptions written by Longmore from December 15, 2010 and January 17, 2012 were for hydrocodone, the offending drug here. He says that it was only about 25 percent. Though we’ve asked about, we haven’t found any statistics as to the approximate ‘proper’ ratio of prescription painkillers to other medications that are written by physicians.

Here are some general drug facts we’ve been able to glean from other sources. The department of Health and Human Services says that painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs and that the U.S., despite being only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, is the world’s largest consumer of painkillers, using 71 percent of the world’s oxycodone and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone, or Vicodin. In 1991 there were 40 million prescriptions for painkillers worldwide, but by 2001, there were 180 million painkiller prescriptions, most of them in the U.S. That number has grown exponentially in the last decade.

The Center for Disease Control says that over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug (not necessarily a narcotic) in the past month increased from 44 percent to 48 percent. The use of two or more drugs increased from 25 percent to 31 percent. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6 percent to 11 percent.

In 2007–2008, 1 out of every 5 children and 9 out of 10 older Americans reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month. Among older Americans (aged 60 and over), more than 76 percent used two or more prescription drugs and 37 percent used five or more.

What’s that all mean? Well, we live longer and we take a lot of drugs, and a lot of it is Vicodin. There appears to be a blurry line, everywhere.

What it means for Woodstock is that the Walk-In Clinic is closed, not to be reopened soon. Judging by the response in town, a valuable resource to many has been lost. If, as the complaint alleges, the doctor was selling prescriptions just for cash, then, goodbye. If questionable judgment was the culprit, he should have been counseled, as he was being watched. Where does that sit on the blurry line?++

 

There are 5 comments

  1. L.D.H

    As someone who worked for Dr. Wayne at his office and home;
    I can say with absolute surety, having seen him away from patients
    and at home with his family.
    That he really did his best to read the patients, x ray and have them fill out pain
    diagrams when they were injured, claiming excruciating pain etc..
    I can recall on many occasions when after asking somone to leave (he would usually
    ask them to step outside to help avoid their embarassment, gee the cameras must surely
    have “that” on film!) when it was clear to him that they were not in real discomfort or
    he had known of them dr. shopping.
    I can recall times when he would remark about the way someone was walking to imitate pain and
    how pain in that area would cause a different body posture than the one they were trying to intimate
    and saying “can you believe that guy just thought I would write him a prescription?”
    I hesitate to repeat things that were said in private, but I have to say it is true, absolutely true.
    And as I was misquoted in the freeman article as saying merely “he is a legit guy”.
    What I really stated was that, “He is a legitimatly great doctor, he helps alot of elderly in the community
    and is a GOOD man.
    I am not saying anything new by mentioning once more that the local emergency rooms do NOT like
    losing business to a caring individual who actually cares for people.

  2. L.M.

    I am really concerned about Dr. Longmore – he is our only local doctor that will work with his patients financially (and this has been more than at hinted as being the crux of the issue), knows his patients well, has the right equipment for diagnosis, and is available when he is needed. He is the epitome of the country doctor, which is EXACTLY what we need here in Woodstock. He has helped me so many times, from a broken wrist to sciatica to anxiety attacks. And never once gave me anything that I didn’t need, nor any kind of medication without the proper cautions and more importantly, very human advice. Why is he still being persecuted? It just makes me so absolutely enraged! I really think we need to stand up for him somehow. Any suggestions??
    PS. I am really really angry at this whole fiasco. How can we turn it around or make a difference? On this I am afraid I am clueless.

  3. L. H.

    I was his patient. He never prescribed Vicodin to me. He had many patients and I remember once when I fell @ work that he told me to use Motrin. That was after a free X-ray.

  4. Stu Weinerman

    I am a local physician. I like Dr. Longmore. He was a nice guy and in many ways an asset to the community. However, he was known as “Dr. Vicodin” at our office, and I was surprised it took so long for the officials to close down his practice. I am sure people are upset at losing him, it was a good place to obtain low cost health care. But to give people health care at lower costs than others who provide the same service, you have to do something different. My guess is refilling narcotic prescriptions, which is the fastest and most profitable service a doctor can provide, allowed him to make enough money to keep the costs down. Unfortunately, the societal cost of putting excessive amounts of abusable drugs into the community is too high. His arrest was inevitable and just.

  5. MR

    I saw him for a meniscus tear in 2009 and he sent me to River Radiology and read the X Ray and sent me to Dr. Moscowitz who injected cortisone.Never wrote a prescription for me.Nice to have a town doctor open all week.He was fast, thorough and cheap.Plus he was pleasant.

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