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Couple die by suicide after DEA shuts down their doctor

Couple die by suicide after DEA shuts down their doctor

Danny Elliott was left in chronic pain after an accident - and his medication was suddenly withdrawn.

A man who suffered from chronic pain and his wife took their lives after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shut down their doctor's office.

Dr. David Bockoff, a chronic pain specialist in Beverly Hills, was shut down on 1 November, and this had devastating consequences from chronic migraine sufferer, Danny Elliott, 61.

He was left unable to access the drug, fentanyl, which was the only thing that provided him relief from his condition after the surgery's licence to prescribe prescribe controlled substances was suspended.

Danny, who was from Warner Robins, Georgia, was left reliant on the drug after a 1991 accident where he nearly lost his life to electrocution, in an incident that saw him experience high voltage shocks for 15 minutes when a water pump malfunctioned.

The couple took their own lives after Danny's pain medication was stopped.
Facebook / McCullough Funeral Home & Crematory

While he was able to survive thanks to the help of his father, he was forced to live his life in a darkened room because of the severe pain he was left in.

He told the VICE News podcast Painkiller in 2019: "I have these sensations like my brain is loose inside my skull.

"If I turn my head too quickly, left or right, it feels like my brain sloshes around. Literally my eyes burn deep into my skull. My eyes hurt so bad that it hurts to blink."

While Danny initially tried to treat his chronic pain using alternative medicine, the only thing that gave him relief was fentanyl - an opioid that is being widely constrained at a federal level.

He said that it could take the pain he was experiencing from a 10 to a five or a six.

But since he found relief in this way in 2002, Danny struggled to keep his supply of the medication that gave him some of his life back.

Danny died alongside his beloved wife.
Facebook / McCullough Funeral Home & Crematory

When Bockoff's licence was suspended, Danny took to Twitter to explain that this was the third time this has happened.

"Even though I knew this would happen at some point, I'm stunned," he wrote. "Now I can't get ANY pain relief as a #cpp [chronic pain patient.] So I'm officially done w/ the US HC [healthcare] system."

The 61-year-old and his wife Gretchen, 59, tried to find an alternative doctor, but when they were knocked back by more than a dozen, he was left, according to his brother Jim, feeling 'a level of desperation I hadn't seen before'.

It was this desperation that saw Danny's brother receive a suicide email on 8 November - just one week after the DEA shut down the doctor.

He called for a welfare check and that was when the couple were discovered to have taken their own lives at around 8 am.

Warner Robins police reported that the only weapon discovered at the scene was a handgun in an incident that they described as a 'dual suicide' in a press release.

Jim subsequently released a section of his brother's desperate final email.

It read: "I just can't live with this severe pain anymore, and I don't have any options left. There are millions of chronic pain patients suffering just like me because of the DEA. Nobody cares.

"I haven't lived without some sort of pain and pain relief meds since 1998, and I considered suicide back then. My wife called 17 doctors this past week looking for some kind of help. The only doctor who agreed to see me refused to help in any way. What am I supposed to do?"

Eric Welde, Gretchen's brother, added to Vice News: "In my mind, what the DEA is essentially doing is telling a diabetic who's been on insulin for 20 years that they no longer need insulin and they should be cured. They just don't understand what chronic pain is."

UNILAD has reached out to the DEA for comment.

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Topics: News