Back in May, the family of Derek Boogaard filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL as they felt the league was responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that he sustained during six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers, and for the addiction to prescription painkillers that marked his final two years.
Yesterday that lawsuit was made public and the allegations are startling.
According to the lawsuit, despite Boogard's "Aftercare Program" restricting Ambien and prescription pain medications during the 2010-11 season, he received 366 pain pills from Rangers physicians, dentists, trainers and staff ...
The lawsuit also states that at one Rangers practice in April of 2011, Boogaard was so impaired that he couldn't stay up on his skates and fell numerous times.
The Minnesota Wild are accused of prescribing 1,021 pain pills for Boogaard.
...wow. If these allegations prove to be true, this is disgusting negligence on the part of both the Rangers and Wild medical staffs that should not only lead to dismissals but also jail time.
...absolutely boggles my mind that the Rangers and Wild doctors could ignore those warnings and prescribe an absurd amount medications to basically a junkie. Do they even have a conscience?
...now having said that, we live in a America, so the NHL, Wild and Rangers are innocent until proven guilty, but man, just looking at the specifics of the lawsuit, it doesn't look real good for them.
To read the entire lawsuit, click here.
H/T to Pro Hockey Talk.
I can't blame the parents for going after the NYR org for not taking better care of their son. The articles I read after his death claimed that he was getting large quantities of oxys illegally on the side to deal with his pain and depression likely caused by numerous concussions. It's the concussions that should have been addressed right away. What bothered me about this is that he seemed to have no one checking on him. He was all alone in his apartment depressed , in pain and strung out. The lack of support from the team and orginization seems as negligent as a dr prescribing 90 hydros.
This is kinda similar to the AEG lawsuit over Michael Jackson's death. I doubt AEG knew what Conrad Murray was doing, but they can still legally be sued and found liable for damages. Similarly, I doubt the Rangers organization micro-manages their medical staff because they trust that they are going to do their jobs adequately. But while the organization may not have known what was going on with the prescriptions, they are still liable for the results, legally. It doesn't mean they're a corrupt callous organization, it just means they hired bad doctors.
Wow, this is difficult to read. It's really, really sad to see that Boogie was in so much pain and didn't get the treatment that he needed.
There really aren't any easy answers for the bigger problem here. We expect these guys to go out and battle each other, block shots and literally beat each other up game after game, season after season. I cannot possibly imagine the physical and mental toll it takes to be a professional hockey player. Without medical treatment, surgeries and prescription pain killers, these guys would not be able to do what they do. Most, if not all of these players take prescription medication regularly. If there was no pain medication, hockey as we know and love it would simply not exist.
The players and coaches just want to be able to go out and play and I'm sure are putting the doctors in a difficult situation. I'm sure you don't get to be the team doctor if you are conservative in your approach to pain management. The fans want fights and hits and get upset when there is talk of banning fighting. Yet we are shocked when fighters like Boogie end up addicted to pain medication and sleeping pills.
Was Boogaard's death tragic? Yes. Was his care mismanaged? Probably. Is this case as easy as suing a doctor for malpractice? NOT AT ALL.
This was my comment yesterday after hearing how the NYR treat bloggers:
"Funny how as I get older my interests become less about the uniform and more about the human side of things. I find myself cheering players on teams, or teams themselves by the way they handle themselves on the field of play, in the public eye, or as far as one can tell in the world in general.
It will happen to all of you. You'll notice when you find yourself looking at Pedroia playing and handling himself like a pro and instead of rooting against him actually enjoying yourself watching him play and in a strange way rooting for him. I have been a lifelong Sox fan and have always felt that way about Mo. Love the guy.
Without having full details I've got to say that at first blush seeing how the Rangers organization treats bloggers drops my opinion of them.
The Rangers should not be so full of themselves to think that they b/c they don't need the grass roots PR here that they can/should stonewall it. It shows lack of class and dignity. Imagine if it were a person ignoring those he needed at one time, but now doesn't b/c he reached a certain level of success. That would be the definition of a d*uche bag.
Step it up Rangers. Learn how to be magnanimous. "
Now this....??? Pay attention people. BUSINESS' DO NOT CARE ABOUT PEOPLE....ONLY MONEY. Only people can care bout people and in strangely the only way we can wrest the power away from the business is by money, as in not using it to buy their products. This fucking sucks. I can't imagine being a relative of Boogaard and seeing this.
this is the world we live in. athletes get away with almost anything. look at Johnny Manzel! he's 20 and a known drunk. he hasn't even been looked at for an under age! a crime is a crime. an addict is an addict regardless of their profession or fame. I understand that he was in pain but he should have been our on the long term injured list not on a hand full of narcotics a week. so sad.
@gravey94 Sorry Gravey, have to disagree with you there. 100%. First, it is naive to think that organizations are not fully aware (if not in detail then in concept) that this goes on. There have been just so many stories from the inside of typical sports organizations about the treatment of humans as commodities. Every sports team and league is dangerously close to being named complicit in huge class action suits for concussions. Watch.
That said....second, and even more important is the fact that EVEN if you want to believe that the organization "didn't know what was going on" (which again is simply not the case) it means far more than having simply "hired bad doctors". How do we regard parents who don't even complete the most rudimentary due diligence in screening, or overseeing the treatment of those they entrust with their children? And yes....this would fall under the most rudimentary of due diligence considering Boogaard's past.
The Rangers dropped the ball here (or never even had it) and are rightfully going to be held accountable, for they like most organizations, are driven almost solely by money and to wit all decisions they make about people are likely driven by that paradigm.
@cb1Easiest way to hold all accountable is to put Accountability into the contract between player and the organization and watch how fast it stops.....same thing with PEDs!
The thing that makes it disgusting is that it's true... No way Patrice Bergeron wasn't taking pain meds between periods playing with the injuries he played with... Hockey players bodies take so much punishment. Cb1 is right alot of players wouldn't be able to go on game night if it wasn't for pain medication...
@BrandonFranz they prescribed 60 hydros in 6 days for a "tooth injury"...when I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth out, I think I was prescribed 10 hydros
@jmacwilli @gravey94 I don't disagree that the Rangers dropped the ball. One thing I know for sure is that neither you or I know for sure what the Rangers did or didn't know at the time Boogaard was being prescribed these meds. Personally, I think it's very highly unlikely that any of the Rangers brass knew about a 4th line enforcer's drug prescriptions. It would be the equivalent of the CEO of a company knowing when an intern was taking a sick day. That being said, I do believe the Rangers have culpability here, I just don't think it was malicious disregard for Boogaard's condition by the entire organization or turning a blind eye while these docs prescribed pills to him. And it's really not a shocker that teams only care about the bottom line. I hate to break it to you, but most fans are the same. How many were worried about Boogaard's concussions more than they were worried he wasn't fighting a lot with the Rangers?
@jmacwilli @gravey94 It goes beyond the doctors and beyond the organization. The entire system is set up for things like this to happen. The players, the union, the doctors, the league and the owners all need to figure out what can be done to prevent this from happening again. This was not a fluke, accidental death.
@BrendyJohnson@BrandonFranzHe didnt have surgery, he had his teeth knocked out by a hockey player punching his face repeatedly. Also Boogaard was 270 lbs and had a history of chronic pain and narcotic use. To get the same relief from hydrocodone, someone is his situation needs way more medication than the average person.
@gravey94 @jmacwilli Yeah...I know. You're not breaking it to me. I get it. And I know I'm one of the few. Still, sadly I don't expect much from fans, or individuals for that matter. However, when we let organizations, or people who are in control of others well-being marginalize the welfare of others, then we are on a slippery slope to a place neither you, nor I want to be. And believe me these organizations ALL marginalize their players.
@gravey94 @jmacwilli I agree that we don't know what the Rangers or the league or the NHLPA did or didn't do. But I don't think your analogy of the CEO and the intern is apt. Maybe the Dolans didn't know, but Glen Sather sure as shit better know what is going on with his players. It's not like there are thousands of them, this is one of 23 or so guys, each of whom the team has invested millions of dollars into. Torts would always say "Ramer tells me if they can go or not, that's all I care about." It's a pretty ignorant statement, but the coach might be able to get away with it. The GM has a much larger responsibility to know what is going on with the health status of his players (employees).
@jmacwilli true, i think we are finally starting to see that with the concussion issue, with the depression/pain killers etc not being talked about enough. Hopefully people can use this tragedy to make some changes.
@cb1 @jmacwilli @gravey94 Agreed, but we must recognize the lag between time of discovery and action. In our society even when the proper action for safety is known (smoking, chemicals, concussions, etc...) NO action will take place until the COST of not doing something finally outweighs the cost of doing something. It is inherent to capitalism with the only recourse being an educated and demanding population to force the issue as close to the point of discovery as possible.