Not all victims of the opioid epidemic are addicts.
On a Wednesday morning, the wife of Michael Jarvis had a 10:45 am appointment with Dr. Todd Graham at South Bend Orthopaedics. She told Dr. Graham that she was suffering from “chronic pain,” and that she needed a prescription for opioids.
The good doctor responded by telling her that he was unable to prescribe opioids only for chronic pain. Because of the ongoing opioid epidemic, doctors are on notice not to over prescribe these pain medications. Dr. Graham was simply doing his job and the right thing.
Jarvis, who was with his wife in the examination room, apparently became very upset with Dr. Graham and an argument ensued. While there’s still a little debate in the medical community, the use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain is controversial. It’s not unreasonable that a doctor refuse to prescribe opioids in this case.
The couple left empty-handed. Most people would have gone home and dealt with the pain by taking ibuprofen or some other form of over-the-counter pain medication. Jarvis wasn’t like most people. That was clear when he showed up at the doctor’s office again two hours later. With a gun.
Dr. Graham was on his way to the St. Joseph Rehabilitation Institute when Jarvis approached him in the parking lot. The two began to argue once again. The situation ended as quickly as it escalated when Jarvis shot and killed Dr. Graham.
Jarvis then drove to a friend’s home where he killed himself before police could arrive. His wife was completely unaware of his intentions and actions. It’s unclear whether Jarvis or his wife were addicted to opioids, or if opioids had anything at all to do with Jarvis’ decision to murder Dr. Graham.
Dr. Graham is survived by his wife and three children. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter spoke on his actions, “He did what we ask our doctors to do: Don’t over prescribe opioids, and, unfortunately, for whatever reason, Jarvis made that choice to take his life.
“Every homicide is tragic, but this one, in particular, I think, hits home to everyone. It hits home to all of our medical professionals. Their job is to try to help people, and that is certainly what Dr. Graham was doing.”