Anna Nicole Smith was an American model, actress and television personality. On February 8, 2007, Smith was found dead at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Broward County Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Joshua Perper announced that Smith died of “combined drug intoxication” with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the “major component.”
The sedative chloral hydrate that became increasingly lethal when combined with other prescription drugs in her system, specifically four benzodiazepines: Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Serax (Oxazepam), and Valium (Diazepam). Furthermore, she had taken Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) and Topamax (Topiramate), an anticonvulsant AMPA/Kainate antagonist, which likely contributed to the sedative effect of chloral hydrate and the benzodiazepines.
Dr. Perper claimed that Dr. Khristine Elaine Eroshevich, an Encino psychiatrist had issued 11 prescriptions to Smith. Eroshevich was with Smith when she checked into the Florida hotel, where she later died. More than 600 pills – including about 450 muscle relaxants – were missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old.
Eroshevich was charged in California and initially convicted of two felonies in the drug trial involving the treatment of Smith. One charge was later thrown out and the other was reduced to a misdemeanor (Health and Safety Code 11173(A) unlawful prescribing. The case has even been the subject of a California Supreme Court Decision in People v Eroshevich which reviewed the issue of double jeopardy as applied to an order for retrial in her case.
Khristine Erosevich M.D. was a 1975 graduate of Ohio State University College of Medicine. She became licensed as a physician and surgeon in California in 1978. A Second Amended Accusation was filed before the Medical Board in 2011 seeking the revocation of her license or other relief. The Sixth Cause for Discipline cited the Anna Nichole Smith criminal case number BA 353907 as grounds for discipline. Other Causes alleged that “she engaged in dishonest acts by making false statements in a psychiatric report and billing statement regarding a workers compensation claimant.”
On March 12, 2012 the Medical Board ordered approval of her stipulation in which “Respondent admits the truth of each and every charge and allegation in the First and Sixth Causes for Discipline in Second Amended Accusation No. 17-2009-197998.” On March 17, 2016, after a hearing, an ALJ ruled “The petition of Khristine Elaine Eroshevich, M.D. for termination of probation is granted. Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate Number C 37980 is fully restored.
On September 8, 2017 the DWC notified Eroshevich of its intention to suspend her from participation in the worker’s compensation system pursuant to labor code 139.21 for the reasons stated above, as well as her suspension from the Medi-Cal program. On September 18 she requested a hearing, and a hearing before the WCAB was set for October 10.
On October 6, 2017 Eroshevich filed a federal lawsuit against officials of the DIR. She alleges that the remaining misdemeanor count “was ordered set aside, a plea of not guilty was entered, and it was also dismissed by the Superior Court.” Thus it could not be used as grounds for her suspension.
With regard to the other reasons for suspension “Plaintiff has never applied or participated in the federal Medicare program and hence was not suspended from that program.” Her petition for reinstatement in the Medi-Cal program is currently pending before the Director of the California Department of Health Care Services. She claims it would be unfair for her to have a hearing on her suspension at the WCAB on October 10 before that petition has been decide.
She alleges a number of constitutional challenges to the law as well, including the prohibition against ex post facto laws contained in by the United States and the California Constitutions. The case has been re-assigned to federal Judge Wu (the same federal judge involved in prior lien claimant constitutional challenges to workers’ compensation law). She also filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order seeking an order enjoining the scheduled suspension hearing from going forward on October 10, 2017. On October 6, Judge Wu denied her request. He set a status conference for October 12 to “discuss further proceedings.”