The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s
seizure of Rush Limbaugh’s entire medical files using search warrants was a
violation of state law and an effort at “Big Brother scrutiny” that will chill
doctor-patient relations for all Floridians, the Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons said in a brief filed today in Florida’s Fourth
District Court of Appeal.
“The intervention of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
as a friend of the court on Mr. Limbaugh’s behalf is another clear indication
that much is at stake for every Floridian in the outcome of this case,” said
Roy Black, Mr. Limbaugh’s attorney. “The Association of American Physicians
and Surgeons brief correctly notes that ‘It is not a crime for a patient to be
in pain and repeatedly seek relief, and doctors should not be turned against
patients they tried to help.'”
In addition to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the
American Civil Liberties Union, the Florida Pain Initiative and the National
Foundation for the Treatment of Pain have filed briefs with the Appeals Court
on Mr. Limbaugh’s behalf.
No charges have been filed against Mr. Limbaugh. Palm Beach County State
Attorney Barry Krischer seized the records from four of his doctors in
December under authority of search warrants. The files are now being held
under seal after the Appeals Court ordered prosecutors to surrender them to a
Mr. Black has argued that the Florida Constitution and state law require
an application for subpoena, notification of the patient and an opportunity to
oppose the action in a court hearing before the state can gain access to
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons brief supports
Mr. Black’s argument, adding that the search warrant seizure, if allowed to
stand, will have intimidating affect on Florida doctors.
“Doctors will reasonably fear ‘Big Brother’ scrutiny of what they include
or omit from the medical charts of patients. To avoid professional risk,
doctors will further refuse to treat pain patients adequately,” stated the
brief filed by Association of American Physicians and Surgeons General Counsel
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons emphasized that visits
to multiple doctors and the receipt of multiple prescriptions for pain is
typical of patients seeking treatment for chronic, unrelenting pain.
“Visiting several physicians for pain relief should not open a patient’s
records to virtually unlimited access by the State,” Mr. Schlafly argued.
“The State violated the law here. Its search warrants should be quashed and
their fruits excluded as a result.”