In a recent lawsuit, U.S. Navy veteran Erick Walker has alleged that the Dorn Veterans Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, misdiagnosed his abdominal pains as a case of cocaine addiction. According to Walker, the hospital staff swapped his urine sample with another patient’s in May 2015. The hospital staff were quick to attribute his sufferings to ingestions of large amounts of cocaine, and discharge him without any treatment.
However, according to Walker’s lawyer, when his condition deteriorated in the next few days, his neighbor rushed him to Lexington Medical Center, where doctors had to perform an emergency surgery for gall stones and problems in the pancreas and gall bladder.
Walker has now recovered and is seeking compensation for the ordeal that he went through because of sheer negligence on part of the Dorn Veterans Hospital staff. It is believed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbia may represent Dorn and the Veterans Administration. Walker, 47, served in the Navy from 1989 to 1993, which included six months in the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Shield in the first Iraq War.
Although, Walker’s case was different and had nothing to do with cocaine addiction, in reality, a large number of unsuspecting Americans are falling into the clutches of the drug more swiftly than they could ever think of. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), during that year, about 1.9 million people aged 12 or older were current users of cocaine.
Cocaine is widely abused across US
Studies suggest that after marijuana, cocaine addiction is widely prevalent among middle and upper sections of society irrespective of age, sex and socio-economic backgrounds. After 2006, the maximum cases of cocaine-related overdose deaths were reported in 2015.
Inhaling or ingesting cocaine produces an enormous dopamine surge, which triggers euphoric sensations. As in the case of any drug or stimulant, extended use of cocaine can lead to long-term modifications in the brain’s reward circuit, resulting in abuse or addiction. Over time, the reward circuit gets accustomed to the huge dopamine rush, leading to increased tolerance to the drug in users, who eventually end up taking stronger and more doses to feed their addiction. Besides alcohol, cocaine is the most common reason for drug users visiting emergency rooms across the U.S. In addition to the dangerous effects on physical health, addiction to cocaine also affects the mental health. Experts say chronic cocaine users are prone to irremediable long-term damage of many important organs and impairment of crucial body functions. The only way to break free from the vicious hold of cocaine is to undergo a personalized detoxification program at a reputed rehab to counter the life-wrecking effects of this lethal drug .
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