Two poems from prison by William Hurwitz, M.D. from Arlington County Detention Center 2005. Don't be fooled by the 'Doctor Suess meets Lenny Bruce' rhyming... you can learn a lot in these poems, about the War on Doctors and about my friend Billy - what sort of man he is, and what sort of physician.
Dr. Alex DeLuca


I’m locked up in jail convicted of crime
Berated, assailed with insult and time
Enough to consume the years I have left
A sentence so long it leaves me bereft
Of prospect to live to see freedom’s light
It’s hard to imagine a much grimmer plight
Yet through the ordeal my soul is at peace
Sustained by your love and the hope of release.

In spite of the stigma, in spite of the pain
A puzzling enigma, hard to explain
Just why did I do it? How could I dare
To sacrifice all to give patient care?
Just what did I gain and what was my point
That led me to risk my life in the joint?

My friends all advised me “Let patients go”
To their consternation, I just said “No”
At least as to those I thought I could aid
With motive so pure, why be afraid
The idea that I wanted drugs on the street
Was absurd on its face – a sure path to defeat
But what to do with those who abused
And likewise with those the cops had accused?

To keep them as patients was not to condone
Abuse and deception – to make it my own
I honestly thought I could help them reform
Too trusting and blind – too far from the norm
Of prudence and caution that fear would require
I hoped that my trust and faith would inspire
Reciprocal acts of contrition and health
But I was deceived by lies and by stealth.

My judgment was flawed I must now confess
Naïve to believe that I would impress
With compassion and care their pain to relieve
Those who set out to exploit and deceive.

Not only was I a soft, easy, mark
The target du jour of addict and narc
What's galling beyond the lies and betrayal
Corrupt and absurd like my life in jail
Is the claim that I'm the responsible one
For those who deceived for profit and fun
That those whose illicit drug dealing thrived
Were victims, no less, of a dastardly plot
As if I intended for them to be caught
In the snare of addiction and forced into crime
For this perverse logic I'm doing my time.


I’m happy my case is being appealed
Injustice and error will soon be revealed
The issues are many and good ones at that
With precedent strong and logic that’s pat
And if I might be perfectly candid
My case should soon be reversed and remanded
What follows are points we’ll make in our brief
The basis in law for judicial relief.

My records were seized without probable cause
Overbreadth in the warrant defying our laws
A general search is never allowed
Specific items must be avowed
The listing was absent – affidavit sealed
A Supreme Court case will be revealed
That holds on such facts that a search doesn’t fly
To the evidence seized, one must say goodbye.

The jury was left somewhat confused
They asked for help, but the judge refused
“The bounds of medicine” he couldn’t describe
Or when to an addict, one could prescribe
Instructing the jury “good faith” to ignore
Was something the Courts had not done before
Without good faith, the safe harbor was lost
With just that instruction, a line had been crossed.
For absent intent, could I have Mens Rea?
If good faith was there, where’s Culpa Mea?

One of the rulings that prejudiced me
Did not allow the jury to see
The FAQ’s which the DEA
Had published with hope that it would allay
Doctors’ concerns that treating pain
Would risk prosecution again and again.

National experts were all involved
Hoping that conflicts could be resolved
That cops and docs could clearly declare
Rules that promoted good patient care
The principles published were fair and humane
Doctors could even treat addicts with pain.

The document bolstered our position
So we moved to allow it as a party admission
Motion Denied – and with artful evasion
The pretext provided – it was not regulation.

Embarrassed by what their experts had cast
The DEA pulled those FAQs fast
With nary a thought of the damage they’d do
To the good will and trust of the doctors who
Had worked so hard and with such high hopes
But were made now to feel like chumps and like dopes.

A charade it had been. That was now clear.
That act demonstrated they were never sincere
When push came to shove, prosecution came first
The hoped for concurrence was sadly reversed
And doctors betrayed and in fear now abstain
From treating their patients’ intractable pain.

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