The medical profession is one that we as a society have benefited immensely by. Diseases that crippled people just two generations ago are now virtually nonexistent in the general population of nations with access to high standards of medical care. However, this atmosphere of medical accomplishment can bring with it an air of permissiveness that does not serve patients well, and in fact can seriously endanger their lives. Numerous wrongful death suits are filed against medical practitioners each year, often for reasons that shock the general public. Worse, however, is the realization that many of the oversight organizations that monitor the medical profession are not taking particularly aggressive action to do anything about it.

For example, consider the case of doctor Janet Akremi. Akremi is a physician who works in Missouri and treats patients for a number of conditions, including pain management therapy. She has received a number of cautioning letters over the years from the Missouri group that monitors state doctors, the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts. The group repeatedly has cited concern for her prescriptions of strong painkillers, even in cases where such drugs clearly are not warranted. For example, she herself listed one patient as a “notorious” abuser of prescriptions, and yet wrote him a prescription for medications right after he overdosed with an injection.

However, this pales compared to what happened to Steven Flenoid, a teenager who died after taking strong prescription painkillers. After this incident, the board finally restricted Akremi’s right to practice, but not entirely. She still is licensed to practice medicine — she simply cannot prescribe addictive painkillers any longer. More than twenty letters were filed, and yet the first serious action that was taken to discipline her didn’t come until someone had died. For her part, Akremi maintains her innocence in the case, and says that there is no evidence her prescription was responsible for Flenoid’s death.