With little fanfare, an important development in the Anna Nicole Smith saga occurred last month.
Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer and former lover Howard K. Stern, 40, and doctors Sandeep Kapoor, 40, and Khristine Eroshevich, 61, are free on bail after being arrested and charged with giving her the prescription drugs that led to her death. Smith, 39, was found dead in her hotel room at the Hard Rock Cafe in Seminole, Fl on February 8, 2007.
Under Florida law, Stern, Kapoor, and Eroshevich can be charged at least with manslaughter by culpable negligence, and at most, first-degree homicide for illegally providing Smith with the drugs that ultimately killed her.
Two years ago, the psychiatrist who treated Anna Nicole Smith, Dr Khristine Eroshevich, was under investigation by California authorities. At that time, California medical board spokesperson, Candis Cohen, confirmed that Dr Eroshevich was being investigated in connection with Smith’s death, but declined to provide further details.
The investigative report by Broward County Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper contains a timeline of events beginning with the arrival of Smith and her companions, which included Dr Khristine Eroshevich, in Florida.
"…At 8:30 pm the party checked in at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood. Maurice Brighthaupt, a friendand former body guard met them at the hotel. Anna’s temperature was taken by Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and was 105 degrees. Anna was told to have 911 call for transport to the hospital, but she categorically refused. She was given an ice bath and her temperature dropped to 97 degrees. She was given Tamiflu as well as 1000 mg of Ciprofloxacin with water. Chloral Hydrate was added for sleep. She fell asleep around 10 pm”
After Dr Eroshevich discovered Anna Nicole had a fever of 105, she told her “to have 911 call for transport to the hospital, but she categorically refused” Why did she ask an extremely ill patient with a dangerously high body temperature if she wanted to call 911? Then Dr Eroshevich proceeds to treat her for the fever and infection and give her a drug for sleep that is “a DEA Schedule IV controlled substance that is infrequently prescribed as a hypnotic agent which may cause respiratory and central nervous system depression, coma, convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias and death.
“3. Tuesday, February 6, 2007Anna Nicole Smith did not urinate and had a “pungent” odor and temperature of 100 degrees. She was at time depressed but she was able to watch television and appeared overall okay. She was given a bath and various fluids including pedialyte, chamomile tea and Fiji water. She felt well in the afternoon after a bath and was given chloral hydrate for sleep. She slept about two hours, then she watched television until 11 pm. She took another dose of chloral hydrate and asked for Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Topamax (unknown if she took these medicines).”
Anna Nicole still has a fever and is now presumably severely dehydrated evidenced by a lack of urination. Dr Eroshevich gives Anna Nicole fluids, a bath, and more chloral hydrate. Furthermore, autopsy test results show that Soma, Klonopin, Valium, and Topamax, were 4 of the 7 prescription drugs (plus 2 over-the-counter drugs for a total of 9), which included chloral hydrate, found in Anna Nicole’s system. It may be “unknown” if she took those medications at that time on February 6th, but she did take them in the days prior to her death.
“4. Wednesday, February 7, 2007Anna stayed awake in bed, watching television around 11 am. She was feeling better and ate breakfast/lunch (omelet of egg white and spinach). In the afternoon she was observed naked and sitting confused in a dry bathtub. She subsequently took a bath. In the evening she ordered 2 crab cakes and shrimp for dinner. Dr. Eroshevich left in the evening for California. Anna was upset and depressed over her friend’s departure. Maurice (“Big Mo”) Brighthaupt returned after Dr. Eroshevich left. Anna was still complaining of not feeling well. She was in the bathtub when Maurice Brighthaupt left for several hours returning between 8-10 pm. Anna was seen on the couch and Howard K. Stern was present but in the bedroom. Maurice went to sleep in the guest room and awakened around 4 am. When he checked the couch, Anna was no longer there and he assumed she had gone to sleep in her room.”
Soon after the still ill Anna is “observed naked and sitting confused in a dry bathtub”, no doubt due to a drug induced stupor, Dr Eroshevich leaves her with the 7 drugs that she has prescribed for Anna Nicole under false names and no medical supervision, then proceeds on her merry way back to California.
Stern “called out to Anna who was still in bed to arouse her.” The least he could have done was actually enter the bedroom to check on her.
1:38 pm Maurice returns to the Hard Rock Hotel and he took over resuscitation.
1:40 pm Seminole Emergency Medical Service was called.1:43 pm First patrol unit arrived to room 607.
1:46 pm Seminole paramedics arrived. CPR was continued.
2:43 pm Anna Nicole Smith arrived at Hollywood Memorial Hospital.
2:49 pm Anna Nicole Smith is pronounced dead and the Medical Examiner’s Office is notified.
4:15 pm Associate Medical Examiner, Dr. Gertrude Juste responds to scene of death pronouncement at the Hollywood Memorial Hospital.
At about 1 pm, Mrs. Brighthaupt, who is a registered nurse, calls her husband before starting CPR, and does not call 911. The “Scene Report - Seminole Hard Rock Café” by Associate Medical Examiner Gertrude M. Juste, M.D. states information was initially provided by Seminole Detective Marian Bryant that Tasma Brighthaupt noticed something wrong with Smith at around 12:30 p.m. Maurice Brighthaupt arrives approximately 38 minutes later, and then 911 is called.
Dr. Perper’s final summary conclusions:
“D. HOW THE INCIDENT OCCURRED:
INGESTED EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF CHLORAL HYDRATE IN COMBINATION WITH THERAPEUTIC LEVELS OF OTHER MEDICATIONS.
E. PROBABLE TERMINAL MECHANISM:
The report also states, “Chloral Hydrate was the most significant drug implicated in this fatality, however several other prescription medications also played a role in this death.7-10 Although the remaining pharmacologic agents were at therapeutic levels, each of these drugs is known to interact with chloral hydrate resulting in an increased risk of overdose.”
No matter what you think of Anna Nicole Smith and her behavior, in the eyes of the law, Anna Nicole’s life is no less valuable than anyone else’s is. Yes, Anna Nicole was an admitted abuser of prescription drugs, and this contributed to her death. However, this does not relieve Drs. Eroshevich and Kapoor of their responsibility for prescribing the potentially lethal combination of medications, or Howard K. Stern from giving them to the severely ill woman. Would Smith still be alive if 911 were called sooner so that she could receive proper emergency medical care? We will most likely never know, but the fact remains it was at the very least irresponsible, and at most, criminal, that help was not summoned sooner.Tweet