Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Frothy Glitter of Show Business

How do you explain to anyone under the age of forty who or what Elvis Presley was? I find it impossible to communicate the reality that was Elvis to people because there is no real comparison. Michael Jackson wasn't as universally loved because he didn't make 150 albums. It took Jackson years to make one album. In 1972, Elvis released six albums.

Oh, and then there's the story of how Elvis died, and that's where the comparison to Jackson is most apt:

Four years later it would be established in court that during the seven and a half months preceding Elvis’s death, from January 1, 1977, to August 16, 1977, Dr. Nichopoulos had written prescriptions for him for at least 8,805 pills, tablets, vials, and injectables. Going back to January 1975, the count was 19,012. The numbers defied belief, but they came from an experienced team of investigators who visited 153 pharmacies and spent 1,090 hours going through 6,570,175 prescriptions and then, with the aid of two secretaries, spent another 1,120 hours organizing the evidence. The drugs included uppers, downers, and powerful painkillers such as Dilaudid, Quaalude, Percodan, Demerol, and cocaine hydrochloride in quantities more appropriate for those terminally ill with cancer. In fact, at about 2:00 a.m. on the morning of his death, Dr. Nick was again ready to prescribe. He responded to a telephone call from Elvis by prescribing six doses of Dilaudid, an opiate that was Elvis’s favorite drug. One of Elvis’s bodyguards, Billy Stanley, drove over to Baptist Memorial Hospital, picked up the pills at the all-night pharmacy, and brought them to Graceland. The bodyguard said that he saw Elvis take the pills. The autopsy, however, showed no traces of Dilaudid in Elvis’s body.

In other words, Dr. Nick killed him, just as Michael Jackson's doctor killed him as well.

Dr. Nick, like Elvis’s other physicians, had been seduced by the frothy glitter of show business, and with his tanned and striking appearance he fit right in. His style diverged from the practice of medicine that was increasingly a matter of business and less a matter of personal service. 

No one should be a "celebrity" doctor. That should be an automatic loss of medical license kind of a thing.

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