Iconic Minnesota Musician Prince Dead at 57.

OK, we knew that. “I would give overwhelming odds that, tragically, this is a drug death,” family forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht told NBC’s TODAY.

“When you rule out foul play, when there is no history of any kind of significant disease … heart and lung … when you rule out any kind of intervention, anything of an environmental nature, you come down to an autopsy that is essentially negative … and that probably means drugs.”

He said the emergency landing of the singer’s private jet last week for a medical reason “fits into the drug picture.”

“I cannot think of any medical or pathological condition that fits that kind of scenario, with incredible ups and downs … other than drugs,” he added.

He’s talking about the Public Persona Prince, who had no medical history that we know of. If his body was perfect, he must have OD’d, yes?  Forget the frail little fellow who, like Michael Jackson, was thrashing a beat-up body around the country to do shows for money.  Maybe, like Michael Jackson and Brett Favre and Peyton Manning, he had a crippled body far older than its years to drag around.  Maybe he had chronic pain.  Who cares, anyway!

Couldn’t have aspirated, couldn’t have had an MI or a PE from plane travel.  Couldn’t have died from the Flu.
Let’s give him seven years, and we read from the CBC:

Among adults aged ≥65 years, an estimated annual average of 21,098 (range: 2,344 in 1986–87 to 43,727 in 2003–04) influenza-associated deaths with underlying respiratory and circulatory causes occurred. The average annual rate of influenza-associated deaths for this age group was 66.1 deaths per 100,000 (range: 8.0–121.1). Deaths among persons aged ≥65 years accounted for 89.4% of the overall estimated average annual influenza-associated deaths with underlying respiratory and circulatory causes.

Okay, 57 is not 65. But damn close. And as we know from our patients, don’t get the flu shot, it causes the flu! Why, I had the flu shot in November, and got sick three times before the Super Bowl, see?

In the Twin Cities, numbering seven hundred grand, there were…some 400 deaths from the flu in the over-sixty-five population.  PRN was a little young, but Cyril jumped to his conclusion nonetheless.

FOX news reminds us of this after the banner headline “Prince’s death highlights spike in prescription drug addiction.” Why bother holding on to the last link of the truth chain, when you can grasp the magic feather and fly to any conclusion you wish?  Load, Fire, Aim.

If his death is pain killer related, while troubling, it spotlights the national problem with opioids.

We don`t know what killed Prince. No one at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse claims to know either. But given the suggestion that it might have been opiates we approached the NCADA to find out more about the problem.

Opioid abuse is a problem often overshadowed by the scourge of heroin. But they are really two sides of the same coin.

Gee Vigna lost her daughter Nicky to a heroin overdose in 2013. While she is not speculating whether opioids caused Prince`s death, she knows from past experience if it proves to be true it could lead to conversations that have the potential to save lives.

“The attention it will draw will be much greater than the hundreds of lives that are lost every single day. But if it takes someone of national notoriety to bring more attention to this epidemic, than hopefully that will be of help to us.” said Gee Vigna.

The Associated Press reports that April 14th, the day Prince`s plane landed in Moline because of a medical emergency, was the same day he canceled a two surprise concerts. They were supposed to be held four days later at the FOX Theater. The reason cited was illness.

Hmm. People symptomatic with illness, who then die shortly thereafter? Sounds suspicious to me. The National Quality Initiative should hop right on this.

And yet through it all, Keith Richards outlives them. Go figure.

 

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