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A doctor’s murder over an opioid prescription leaves an Indiana city with no easy answers

A doctor's murder in a small Midwest city leaves other physicians fearful and uncertain about how to deal with patients who demand opioids.

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Dr. Todd Graham wasn’t yet halfway through his workday at South Bend Orthopaedics when a new patient came into his office here complaining of chronic pain.

Heeding the many warnings of health officials, he told her opioids weren’t the appropriate treatment.

But she was accompanied by her husband, who insisted on a prescription. Graham held his ground. The husband grew irate. The argument escalated to the point that Graham pulled out his phone and started recording audio until the couple left.

Two hours later, the husband would return, armed.

Graham didn’t know that the shouting in his office wasn’t the end of the confrontation. It was frightening, he told his colleagues. But the incident two weeks ago wasn’t out of the ordinary — physicians here and across the country have grown increasingly accustomed to disputes over opioids. So Graham didn’t call the police. He didn’t file a report. He just kept seeing patients.

Many of his peers say they would’ve done the same thing. Many of them have.

Now, they’re not so sure.

That’s what they whispered to one another at the funeral five days later — the funeral for Dr. Graham.

Read more: A ‘civil war’ over painkillers rips apart the medical community — and leaves patients in fear

Graham, 56, had worked

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