RENO. Nev. (KOLO) Imagine you live with severe pain every day and the only thing that allows you to function is your doctor and the medication he prescribes. Now imagine both are suddenly taken away and no one seems to want to help.
Welcome to Dick's world.
"I figured there would be no problem getting another doctor, but I found out different."
He's sitting in an examination room at the Family Quick Care Clinic, his portable oxygen tank at his feet, a U-S Marine cap resting above a face etched by decades of pain and weeks of frustration.
We're not showing his face or using his full name out of concern for his safety, but we can tell you his story. Dick is an 80-year-old former Marine. A car accident in 1953 left him with a list of severe back and leg injuries, followed by numerous surgeries and all the pain that went with them.
"It's miserable. You hurt all the time. You can't think good. It's just a limitation, a limitation on everything."
And he's lived with that severe pain literally his entire adult life.
For the past three years he's been seeing Dr. Robert Rand, who prescribed oxycodone and oxycontin. News that the doctor had been arrested, his practice shut down, was a little scary, but he didn't expect what he found.
"For the last month all I've done is get on the phone and call doctors and get turned down," he says, his hand clutching pages of notes containing names and phone numbers..
"A lot of them when I've got them on the phone and mention Dr. Rand they say 'Oh, we're not handling Dr. Rand's patients."
The only help he's gotten is temporary prescriptions from Dr. Ryan Zeller at the clinic, but that won't continue. In the meantime he and his wife have been spending their days, running through a list of potential leads, searching for a doctor who will see him for his major medical issue, the pain that haunts him daily. So far, he's come up empty.
"There's plenty of doctors. I've seen so many doctors and none of them will touch you because you're Dr. Rand's patient and I think there should be a stop put to that. It doesn't make any sense. I thought doctors were out there to help you."
He's not alone. We've talked with others with the same experience.
These people are really the collateral damage of this criminal case, at risk through no fault of their own and it seems finding little help.
To a person, so far, it must be said they have been very supportive of Dr. Rand and bristle at the suggestion he was a "pill mill" prescribing medication without closely monitoring his patients.