Anna Nicole Smith walked away from drug intervention, psychiatrist testifies
A psychiatrist who treated a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith for drug withdrawal in 2006 testified today that the model said she was willing to “do anything” for her unborn daughter, but ultimately walked away from a program to break her dependence on prescription medication.
The 39-year-old former Playboy playmate died from a drug overdose 10 months after the hospitalization described by Dr. Nathalie Maullin.
Prosecutors are pursuing charges against Smith's boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and two physicians accused of conspiring to illegally provide Smith with prescription medication.
At a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try the defendants, Maullin recalled Smith’s weeklong stay at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in April 2006.
Smith, 15 weeks into her pregnancy, had symptoms of acute drug withdrawal following what she told doctors was an attempt to go “cold turkey," Maullin said.
“She said, ‘I’ll do anything for my baby,’ ” recalled Maullin, an addiction specialist. The hospital staff gave Smith methadone and the sedative Ativan to ease her symptoms and start the process of weaning her off the drugs, Maullin said.
Several days into her stay, Smith angrily rejected a treatment program that included a psychologist and a complete cessation of sedatives and methadone.
“She was very hostile. It was, ‘Give me my medications and leave me alone,' ” Maullin testified.
The psychiatrist said she told Smith and Stern that if she wouldn’t comply with the hospital’s outpatient program, she needed to check into a rehab center. Smith’s reply was a stony glare and Stern questioned whether that was truly necessary, Maullin testified.
The father of the baby, Larry Birkhead, previously testified that Smith smuggled a bottle of methadone into the hospital and was using it with Stern’s knowledge to supplement the gradually smaller amounts given by the hospital.
Maullin said she never knew about the bottle. She also said she was unaware that Smith’s primary physician, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, wrote her a prescription for Ativan the day after her discharge.
Stern, Kapoor and a third doctor, Khristine Eroshevich, have pleaded not guilty.
-- Harriet Ryan