A lawyer I’m friends with was complaining about a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney who has kind of a sleazy way about himself.

The complaint though was that the lawyer pushes most of his clients to a certain doctor who has a pretty bad reputation at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission and is known as someone who aggressively recommends surgeries – which of course makes him a lot of money – when conservative medical care could solve a problem.

The bigger issue though is that this doctor is also known for prescribing a ton of pain medication to his patients and then having them fill those prescription orders at a pharmacy he runs.

I’m of course pro-injured worker.  Part of being an advocate for workers is calling out the bad actors that are on your side.  If you don’t then you are no worse than the politicians who support every issue and everyone in their party no matter how awful the position is.

This doctor is dangerous. It’s a clear conflict of interest for him to prescribe medicine that is often very expensive when he stands to make a profit from those medications being purchased. As much as you don’t want to have a surgery you don’t need, it’s far worse to become addicted to prescription pain meds.

Unfortunately, addiction is all too common and not talked about enough.  If you have a fusion or other invasive surgery, you are going to be in pain afterwards and medication will likely be needed.  But if your doctor isn’t closely monitoring your intake, you can go from a family man/woman one day to an addict who has ruined their life in no time.

Just as we advise you to look out for warning signs from a potential lawyer, you need to do so with doctors as well.  Some lawyers like to direct their clients to doctors because the doctor will in turn refer his injured patients back to the lawyer. You need to avoid these types of arrangements as they are clear warning signs of people who do not have your best interests at heart.

When it comes to pain drugs, most doctors are on the look out to make sure pills aren’t being abused. If your doctor wants you to take a bunch of medication and then wants you to fill it up at his pharmacy as compared to a Walgreens or a CVS (and remember, work comp insurance pays for everything) then something is really wrong.

If you do notice that you really are needing the pills, don’t be afraid to seek help.  In fact, if you do get addicted and it’s from treatment for a work injury, the insurance company would have pay for any rehab if God forbid it came to that point for you.