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Rush Limbaugh Tries to Keep Medical Records Sealed
Published on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Rush Limbaugh Tries to Keep Medical Records Sealed
by Peter Franceschina
 

Rush Limbaugh's attorneys went on the offensive Monday in an effort to keep the conservative radio commentator's medical records sealed after they recently were seized by prosecutors investigating his prescription drug use.


From March to September, Limbaugh picked up 1,733 hydrocodone pills, 90 OxyContin pills, 50 Xanax tablets and 40 pills of Kadian -- time-release morphine -- the warrants show. The court documents indicate that sometimes less than a week would lapse between different doctors' prescriptions for the painkillers.

Limbaugh's attorneys filed a court action asking a judge to review the propriety of the seizure of the medical records, which are under seal and haven't been reviewed by prosecutors. They asked for a hearing in the next three days to assert Limbaugh's right to privacy and prevent prosecutors from gaining access to them.

Limbaugh's attorneys couldn't be reached for comment late Monday. A spokesman for Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer declined to comment. Limbaugh has not been charged with any crimes and has denied breaking any laws.

The motion seeking a hearing on the issue says Limbaugh already has been harmed by the details of the prescription drug investigation that were made public as part of the search warrants.

"No citizen would wish these highly personal details to be held by minions of the state to finger through at their leisure. Nor would any sane person wish his medical diagnosis and medical prescriptions to be widely published on television shows, tabloid newspapers, Web sites and the like," the motion says.

"Mr. Limbaugh has already suffered the indignity of watching a list of his doctors and medications dramatically leafed though on air by television reporters. One can only imagine the exposure these records will receive if the state is allowed access to them."

The motion also says Limbaugh is prevented from getting proper medical treatment because all of his original medical records are in the hands of prosecutors.

In Florida, search warrants typically become public record 10 days after they are executed, and the four warrants in the Limbaugh inquiry became national news Dec. 4. The warrants named the doctors from whom the records were seized as well as listed hundreds of pain pills prescribed to Limbaugh in a six-month period.

The warrants revealed authorities are looking into whether he violated the state's "doctor shopping" law by getting doctors to write overlapping prescriptions and failing to tell them about each other.

From March to September, Limbaugh picked up 1,733 hydrocodone pills, 90 OxyContin pills, 50 Xanax tablets and 40 pills of Kadian -- time-release morphine -- the warrants show. The court documents indicate that sometimes less than a week would lapse between different doctors' prescriptions for the painkillers.

Limbaugh admitted in early October he was addicted to painkillers, a week after the media reported that his former housekeeper and her husband had supplied him with powerful prescription drugs. He checked himself into a treatment program and returned to the air in mid-November.

Limbaugh's attorneys contend that Florida law allows for the subpoena of medical records in criminal and civil cases only after the patient has been notified and given an opportunity to contest it in court. The search warrants provided that prosecutors couldn't review the medical records until approved by a judge.

Copyright 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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