Physician killed for denying drug seeker a prescription


200912091638.jpg Perry doctor killed by patient


CORNETTSVILLE — A man seeking prescription painkillers shot and killed a doctor at a Perry County medical clinic Tuesday morning, according to state police.

Dr. Dennis Sandlin, 57, of Delphia died after being shot at Leatherwood/Blackey Medical Clinic in Cornettsville.

John Combs, 46, of Redfox in neighboring Knott County, was arrested after the shooting, state police said. Combs has been charged with murder.

There are no words. Wonder what narcs he’ll get in prison.

via Kevin, MD


  1. What a shame. He won’t have to worry about giving up that UA now; the judge has ordered a blood draw. According to reports, Dr. Sandlin was the only MD for 30 miles.

  2. doc Russia says:

    …and this, dear readers, is why when patients threaten me, I make sure to make a note of it in their medical records.
    When a man threatens to kill you, take him for his word.

  3. Freaking addicts… unbelievable. This is why every ER has, or should have, full-time security personnel… preferably off-duty or otherwise-sworn LE. You should always take threats like that seriously, and press charges.

    Unfortunately, admin types will often lean on you NOT to press charges, since they don’t want the publicity, or to “upset” the patient/family.

    Easy thing to do from your cushy office down the hallway.

  4. MOST Horrible!

    It’s always the saddest when those that give themselves to help others are taken in an unfortunate or violent event.

  5. Is reporting the fact that the patient was requesting narcotics a HIPAA violation?

  6. healthtips says:

    This is sad to hear. One such rare incident cannot be generalized.

  7. “One such rare incident cannot be generalized.”

    Did you forget the incident a few months ago where a drug seeker in Florida bit off an elderly physician’s finger?

    The nastiest, most-a**holish patients are virtually always your drug seekers. They physically threaten physicians and staff, they show their a**, cause a commotion… and can get violent. One of my colleagues (ex-football player) was jumped by a drug-seeker, ended up body-slamming the guy, and the guy complained, and raised a huge stink about how he just needed medicine, and the doctor “hurt” him.

    Addicts are nasty people when they don’t get what they want… and they do get violent. I’ve witnessed it too many times… so I’ll generalize that every day of the week, thank you very much.

  8. Death as an outcome may be rare, but threats of violence and sometimes outright assault is not.

  9. It is bad enough the live of Dr. Dennis Sandlin was lost. But how hard it will be to find another physician to fill his spot in Leatherwood/Blackey Medical Clinic in Cornettsville? Because of the drug seeker a lot of patients who need medical care will be suffering from inability see a doctor for some time.

  10. Jack Coupal says:

    Unfortunately, here in Kentucky, getting and taking narcotics is a way of life for some.

  11. Dr. Frey’s article: My concern is it seems to blame the victims of the shooting.
    TRUE STORY by John Frey, MD:

    One day I went to lunch in the hospital cafeteria and emerged to find the hall lined with police officers, guns drawn. They were looking past me down the hallway. I chose to go in the direction that the officers were NOT looking. As I exited the back of the hospital, several black helicopters ominously circled overhead. No one knew where exactly the shooter was. Just then my supervising physician called me from inside the hospital and said, “get back to work.” I said, “where’s the shooter?” He didn’t know, so I said, “call me back when you find out”. It turned out several ER doctors were shot, including one in the head. The shooter, if I recall correctly, was upset that his friend, an outpatient, hadn’t received pain medicine.

    1. It’s better to prevent a ‘worst case scenario’ than to deal with it after the fact. Be courteous to everyone, all the time. (OK, 99.99% of the time).

    2. Don’t talk down to people, or you just might wind up talking up to someone.

    3. It is dangerous to work in a hospital with a culture that doesn’t respect patients (or each other) with basic human decency.

    4. Don’t wait for others to tell you what to do. Do what you think is right.

    5. Protect yourself even if – especially if – your supervisors won’t.

    6. If you see the ‘guns drawn sign’, vote with your feet.

    I noticed in the weeks and months that followed this incident that patients seemed to be treated more compassionately and with more respect. But that could have been my imagination.

  12. Sure… because clearly they treated the patient like shit (eg. they didn’t “keep the customer happy” by refilling his OxyContin), and thus brought this shooting on themselves. In other words, by failing to fulfill the patient’s desire for inappropriately-prescribed narcotics, the ED staff wore a short skirt and “asked for it.”

    Any person who floats that particular spin needs punched in the mouth. Hard.

  13. Hey, people/nurses shouldn’t assume patients are drug seekers, like they did with me. Their written history should prove they are drug seekers, don’t assume. However, I simply waited patiently in the ER with my first time kidney stones.

    But, the violence is a tragedy. There’s a good reason why cameras should be in every ER.

  14. Spanglocity says:

    It makes this youtube blurb not so funny (