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I Did It. So What?

To Whom It May Concern,

When I began medical school, I didn’t sign on to become a celebrity. I didn’t have dreams about people knowing my name across the world when I underwent my residency and internship training. I just wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to help people by giving them whatever they need at the time. Whether someone needed a hug, a kind word, or a prescription medication, my goal was to be the person he or she turned to for help.

Unfortunately, recent events have made me somewhat of an instant celebrity, giving me what Andy Warhol would consider my “15 minutes of fame.” Well, it has lasted a little more than 15 minutes, and to be honest, I’m a little tired of it. So here I am, setting the record straight once and for all.

I know what you’re thinking: this is going to be some kind of OJ Simpson If I Had Done It kind of book. Well, you’re wrong. Because while OJ and I share one thing in common, I possess something he doesn’t. I am not afraid to say I did it. You read right. I did it. I was responsible for the death of starlet Anna Nicole Smith.

Before I go any farther, I would like you to understand that I am using the term “responsible” loosely. I didn’t shove pills down Anna’s throat. I didn’t tighten a noose around her neck. I didn’t press the muzzle of a gun against her head and pull the trigger. So in one sense, I am not responsible for Anna Nicole Smith’s death. In another sense, as you are well aware, I am responsible for her death. As responsible as any other physician who carries out the wishes of his or her patients. Because all I did was fulfill my life dream of carrying out the job of a physician. The job I’ve done for years and never been bothered with media attention for doing. I was helping Anna. Had you been in my shoes, you may have done the same thing. Then again, many wonderful physicians have the best of intentions, but they don’t have what it takes to do the right thing—even when the patient is begging for it.

You may be wondering about the number of pills I signed off for Anna to take. To the average person, 11 sounds like a lot of prescriptions. Maybe even an absorbent number. That’s the difference between common citizens and celebrities like Anna Nicole. Celebrities need pills to survive. No—I’m not advocating for substance abuse in celebrity culture. I simply understand what celebrities (Anna in particular) go through.

Don’t believe me? Consider a typical single mother with three kids. Most likely, she is holding down two jobs and thinks she has it rough. After all, she’s struggling to make ends meet, and it’s a constant fight to keep food on the table and her children happy and healthy. But single moms have nothing on Anna Nicole.

Anna spent the majority of her life in the public eye. Her every move was scrutinized. When her face first graced the screen and magazine covers, the world fell in love. A few years later when she put on a few pounds and filled out her beautiful feminine physique, things changed. Anna Nicole started to feel the jeers and sneers from strangers across the world. Even when doing small television spots with no live audience, she knew everyone was laughing at her. So she did everything in her power to get a thinner figure in an effort to regain approval from the public. Was anyone thankful? No. Instead, everyone realized how insecure Anna Nicole was. They knew she only lost weight to regain their affection, and they weren’t going to let her back in the “thin and perfect” celebrity club again. They were doing everything they could to keep her in the B-list of celebrities, and it devastated Anna.

Session after session in my office and my home, Anna brought her problems to me. She wept, begging for a solution to her problems. All the while, her health began to fail. She suffered intolerable anxiety. She couldn’t sleep. She could never relax. She began picking up bacterial and viral diseases regularly. It was as if her body had lost its ability to function properly. So I did what I signed up to do when I was in medical school. I did whatever it took to help her. Granted, as a psychiatrist, I can’t prescribe many of the medications Anna Nicole needed. But I do have quite a number of connections that I can use at will. Getting the various medications needed to care for Anna’s various conditions was no problem.

Concerning the potential for danger of all the medications I authorized for Anna, I’m sure I thought about it. I imagine at one time I even informed Anna Nicole that it could be very dangerous—or even deadly—to take a few of the prescription medications at one time. Would she listen to me? Obviously not. Or if she did, she took the warnings as an inviting way out of the pain and misery she felt every hour of every day. But it’s not my responsibility to babysit my patients. All I do is find ways to manage whatever bothersome symptoms patients experience for an improved quality of life. If she felt she needed to take hundreds of pills at one time to relieve her symptoms, she had the right as an adult to follow her intuition. Even if taking those pills would bring her to her death, Anna retained the right to ingest the pills that were rightfully hers.

I like to think Anna Nicole was looking for a cure, and by taking hundreds of pills within a very short period of time, she found it. As her psychiatrist and friend, it was an honor and privilege to have played a role in helping Anna find the relief she sought.

Sincerely,

Dr. Khristine Eroshevich

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