Law & Order (1990) s15e06 Episode Script


NARRATOR: In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
Hello? Hello? Housekeeping.
Hello? Miss? (GASPS) Oh, my God.
Nora Hacks“.
Checked 'm yesterday.
Where's she from? Park Avenue.
Sounds like a little afternoon delight.
Did you interview the other guests? Yeah, nothing so far.
What about cash or valuables? Nice watch on the table, $500 in her purse, credit cards.
So we can rule out a robbery.
She ordered room service.
Tea for two.
So, she definitely had company.
You're dusting all this, right? Wow.
Somebody work her over? I'm not so sure.
What are those bruises? Liposuction.
Maybe a tummy tuck, fresh incision staples.
I'd say within the last 24 hours.
Give me the South Beach Diet any day.
You got a time of death? Ballpark, between 6:00 and Is there anything that says this is a homicide? Petechial hemorrhaging could be indicative of strangulation.
And I think her skull's fractured.
What do you say we're looking at here? I think it's an accident.
She's sick, doped up, passes out, hits her head.
Well, she had surgery yesterday, so this could be some post-op complications.
I can't rule anything in or out yet.
Including homicide.
She could have been woozy from these.
She left her cell phone on.
Maybe she was expecting a call.
I'm calling the last number she did.
It's busy.
She called this number a couple of times yesterday.
What's the number on that bottle? It's the same number.
Must be his office.
Hey, what do you think we talk to room service? Excuse me.
I want all the numbers on this cell phone run.
Calls made, received, the numbers in the phone book, too.
Okay? Sure thing.
Send these to the crime lab.
Got it.
Excuse me.
You have any idea when you'll be done in here? The hotel is fully committed.
This is a crime scene.
It says so right there on the tape.
Yes, but that doesn't tell me when I get the room back.
Can I see you just for a sec? It's gonna take however long it takes.
Do you understand me? And if you get in our way, or don't cooperate with us, we're going to turn this whole hotel into a crime scene.
And that's gonna be really bad for business.
Now, excuse us.
ED: What time did you take the tea to her room? Around 4:30, Who was she with? Nobody then.
When I came back for the tray, I heard someone else in the room.
Well, the tray is still in her room.
How come you never picked it up? They were arguing, so I just left.
Hackett and a man with an accent.
FONTANA: An accent? Yeah, you know.
Kind of snooty.
Snooty? Yeah, you know, snooty.
He was shouting.
What were they fighting about? I got to the door, I heard angry voices, I just walked away.
FONTANA: What time was that? Around 6:00.
Yeah, Ms.
Hackett was pre-registered for early check-in.
She stopped by the desk around I checked her in myself.
Was she alone? She was with ayoung woman.
I didn't catch her name.
Did you catch a description? I'm afraid not.
I was totally focused on Ms.
Do you have video surveillance inthelobby? Ms.
Hackett came in through the VIP entrance at the rear of the hotel, which has no surveillance.
Why not? The VIP entrance is for our preferred customers.
People who require a modicum of privacy.
And why would Ms.
Hackett be considered aVIP? She was referred by Dr.
We accord all his patients preferential treatment.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, there were no complications.
Hackett spent several hours in post-op, and she was released around 1:00.
Yeah, all very routine.
Angie, could you please check on Mrs.
Hellerman? Tell her I'll be right in.
Your phone number was on Ms.
Hackett's cell phone.
Well, I ask all my patients to check in with me after surgery.
What did she say? That she was doing fine.
There were no problems? None at all.
She called you a couple of times.
Nora was a worrier, but she was fine.
I don't know what could have happened.
They're putting her under now, Doctor.
I'm sorry, gentlemen, I have an eyelift waiting.
Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.
I'm so sorry about Nora.
So are you a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan? How'd you know? You're kidding me, right? You sound just like my cousin Rose.
Cubs, of course.
Me, too.
What neighborhood you from? The Patch.
I'm from Little Sicily.
I went to St.
No kidding.
My little brother went to St.
What's your last name? Gusmorino.
Are you related to Nick Gusmorino? He's my uncle.
(ALL LAUGHING) I'll be damned.
This is a small world, isn't it? Yeah.
It's a shame about Ms.
I can't believe it.
You know, Angela, we have to get in touch with her next of kin.
Would you happen to have an emergency contact number on her file? I should.
Let me check.
Her sister, Darlene Hackett, lives in Connecticut.
Who picked up Ms.
Hackett after her surgery? Her assistant.
You need her name and number, too? RAZI: Ms.
King seemed all right when I left her at the hotel.
A little shaky.
Oh, my God.
I'm sorry, this is just so bizarre.
So sudden.
You said Ms.
King? I thought her name was Hackett? Hackett is her real name.
Everybody knows her as Corrine King.
Was she an actress or something? She's a novelist.
She writes thrillers.
Her last one, Gentlemen of Evil, was on the best-seller list for 39 weeks.
We were trying to contact her sister.
Do you know if she has any other family we can talk to? A husband, a boyfriend maybe? She was divorced.
She didn't date.
Her ex didn't happen to have an accent, did he? She didn't really talk about her ex.
They weren't on friendly terms? No terms at all, far as I know.
She told me when she turned 40, he left her for his yoga instructor.
I guess it left kind of a bitter taste.
My God.
She was young, relatively.
What happened? When was the last time you saw her? Well, I bumped into her at a restaurant last year.
Us? She pretended not to see us.
Me and my wife, Heather.
There you are.
Hi, sweetie.
Sorry, I didn't know you had company.
That's all right.
These gentlemen are from the police.
About Nora.
Nice to meet you.
All right.
Going in.
Heather and I were in Newport with friends.
We got back around 10:00 p.
Your ex-wife have any enemies? Anyone want to hurt her? Otherjealous lady novelists? Was she successful? Hugely.
Sold millions.
Airport trade.
Unreadable, in my opinion, but apparently most people liked it.
You and Ms.
Hackett have any children? No.
Why do you ask? Who inherits her money? Well, not me, if that's what you're thinking.
She'd rather give it to the ASPCA.
Her sister, I suppose.
It's the only family she has left.
We're looking to talk to a man with a snooty accent.
He was in the room with your wife.
That could be her agent.
I think the guy's from Cape Town, originally.
South African.
That could be snooty.
CLIVE: When her husband dumped her for a younger, thinner blonde, Nora decided to chuck it all and began writing.
And you became her agent.
I admired her moxie.
She took a humiliating act of betrayal and turned it into a best-selling novel of revenge and retribution.
Sounds great.
I'll have to pick up a copy.
You called her yesterday afternoon around 3:00 p.
? I dropped by the hotel to keep her company.
We have a witness that overheard the two of you arguing.
Nora and I were like an old married couple.
We often had creative differences.
Oh, yeah.
What were your creative differences with her yesterday? The direction of her new book.
I thought it was too dark.
She disagreed.
What time did you leave the hotel? Around 6:00 p.
I had a meeting with a publisher across town at 6:30 p.
Are you in her will? (SCOFFS) Goodness, no.
Not that I need be.
All of her books are still in print.
I'm sure her sister inherits.
Have you talked to Darlene? We've been trying to reach her.
She's in town.
My assistant spoke to her an hour ago, about the memorial service.
Oh, my God.
You don't think somebody Ms.
Hackett, we look into all possibilities.
So, why was she staying at the Renfield? Why didn't she just go home? That's where she always stayed after these little procedures.
Well, they took such good care of her there, and it was so close to Dr.
Lawrence's office.
So, she'd gone to see Dr.
Lawrence before then? A number of times.
The last one was about a year ago.
I was praying it was the last.
Nora was chasing some impossible ideal of female beauty.
Flawless face, perfect hair, ayounger body, the latest clothes.
Anything to hide the fact that she was 54.
Do you know why she went in for the latest operation? She'd just signed a big new publishing deal.
We hear that she was really successful.
DARLENE: Extremely so.
Who inherits her money? I do, probably.
Hackett, we know that your sister had a visitor at the hotel.
Clive Raymond.
That creep? You think Clive might be involved in Nora's death somehow? Do you? It's hard to see how he'd profit.
Although I'm sure he would if he could.
Well, he was her agent, right? Her ex-agent.
She dropped him a few months ago.
Well, he forgot to mention that.
Clive was desperately trying to get Nora to come back to him.
Losing a big client like her must've hurt.
There's a lot of money at stake.
How do you know that? How do I know? The lawyers are involved.
Nora was a shrewd businesswoman.
We hear she just got a new publishing deal.
Her biggest one yet.
A five-book deal.
Which she negotiated herself, thank you very much.
So, without the help of her agent? Clive? She didn't need him anymore.
Yeah, we hear they had a falling out.
Now, that's way too polite.
She fired him.
Before the new deal? That's our position.
He sees it differently.
When the publishing company started sending the advance checks to us instead of to Clive, he threatened to sue.
How much money we talking about? Nora was alive and well when I left her in that hotel room.
To think that I would hurt her, well, it's beyond the pale.
You did forget to mention that she fired you.
That's what that little argument was about, wasn't it, Clive? I was angry.
I put her on the map, and she kicks me to the curb like a stray dog.
Where's the loyalty? So you put her on the map.
Ask anyone.
And then she dumped you.
ED: That must've pissed you off.
Look, I went there as a friend.
To hold her hand, talk to her.
To convince her that she had made a mistake.
By roughing her up? No.
No! Look, I came all the way down here of my own volition to clear up this little matter and remove the dark cloud over my good name.
Now, can't you give me a lie detector test or truth serum or something? Detectives, M.
just called.
Needs to talk to you right away.
You just make yourself the home, Clive.
From the looks of the report, our victim died from a fatal drug interaction.
From the Demerol? Yeah, mixed with Nardil.
It's an MAO inhibitor.
Like Prozac? Yeah, same effect, different chemical makeup.
MAO inhibitors can cause severe reactions when combined with other drugs.
And Nardil stays in the system.
She really should have discontinued taking it at least 10 days prior to surgery.
And her doctor, he should of known all of this? Well, I assume she would have told him.
Now, if she didn't, for some reason, and he didn't know that she was taking Nardil, her death is a therapeutic complication.
And if he did know? If he knew, and gave her Demerol anyway, I would be inclined to call it criminally negligent homicide.
FONTANA: Angela.
We thought you might need a little boost.
We were wondering if you can do us a small favor.
We're just tying up the Nora Hackett case, and there's something we'd like to check in her medical file.
We're really not supposed to give that information to anyone.
It'd be just a quick peek.
And, besides that, we're authorized.
Well, I guess that would be okay.
Here we go.
What do you need to know? ED: If she was taking any medication when she came in for surgery.
That would be on the intake form.
Oh, that's funny.
FONTANA: What? Here it is, right on top.
You sound surprised.
Where's it supposed to be? On the bottom.
The forms are all filed in reverse chronological order.
Angie, I need Dr.
Stein's Detectives.
Here for a consultation? Does it look like we need makeovers, Doctor? What's going on here? Angela, what are you doing with this? We just asked her to double-check some information in Ms.
Hacketfs file.
That's all.
Didn't they teach you at the academy that medical files are confidential? They also taught us how to get a subpoena.
I'm sorry.
They're the police.
They said they were authorized.
I guess it can't do any harm.
She wrote NA.
"Not Applicable.
" What's this about, anyway? Did Ms.
Hackett ever mention that she was taking Nardil? Nardil? Absolutely not.
Why? The Medical Examiner says her death is due to a lethal interaction of drugs, Nardil and Demerol.
Oh, my God.
I never would have given her Demerol, had I known.
Her internist's name is here.
Do you have his number? Yeah.
Yeah, of course.
Demerol? I don't understand.
Any first-year intern would know not to prescribe Demerol ifa patient were taking Nardil.
There was no mention of Nardil on her surgical intake form.
That surprises me.
Nora was very careful.
She knew Nardil, like other anti-depressants, could be lethal in combination with certain drugs.
Doctor, when did you prescribe it for her? Like a lot of creative people, Nora experienced problems with depression on and off over the years.
I put her on Nardil six months ago.
Trust me, she was well aware of the potentially dangerous interactions with other drugs.
So between her last plastic surgery with Dr.
Lawrence and this one, her internist put her on this anti-depressant.
And he explained all the risks.
Yeah, but Dr.
Lawrence wouldn't have necessarily known, so she should have told him.
How we gonna prove that? But if she was aware of the risks, how come she didn't put she was taking Nardil on the intake form? Well, maybe she did.
Do you remember that doctor at City Hospital a few years back? There was a woman who went into labor on the sidewalk.
Oh, right.
He refused to admit her, and then he changed the records to cover it up.
So, you're thinking that Dr.
Lawrence altered his records? Well, he has a damn good motive.
I'm going to call the D.
's office and see if we have enough for a subpoena.
Can I help you? Where's Angela? Family emergency.
When will she be back? When they hired me, they said she wouldn't.
Can I help you? Yeah, we need to speak to Dr.
I'm sorry.
He's in surgery.
What's this? Some reading material for the doctor.
Reading material? Yeah, it's a subpoena for Nora Hackett's medical records.
When I put the document under the stereomicroscope, the first thing that I noticed was that the fibers following the letters IINII IIAII were disturbed.
Disturbed by what? A pen.
They were also lifted by an eraser.
Say it simple.
Something was erased and then written over? Take a look.
Now I'll manipulate the image so we can see the striations of what was erased.
(BEEPING) FONTANA: Well, I'll be damned.
So, unless someone actually saw Dr.
Lawrence altering the form Well, there was a receptionist who was very helpful.
All of a sudden she's in the wind.
Family emergency.
Timing's kind of coincidental, isn't it? Exactly.
You got an address? Yeah, Dyckman Marina.
Go rock a boat, see what she knows.
Angela around? She's not here.
I'm Detective Fontana.
This is Detective Green.
New York City Police Department.
How are you doing, man? We hear that Angela had some sort of family emergency.
That's just Angie's way of saying, "I quit.
" She doesn't like confrontation.
Confrontation with who? Her boss, maybe? Dr.
Lawrence? I think you better talk to Angie about that.
Well, that's why we're here, man.
Do you know where can we find her? She went to Chicago yesterday.
You have a number? No.
And I don't really know where she's staying.
She's crashing with friends.
Here's my card.
You hear from her, you tell her to call me anytime day or night, okay? It's very important.
Very important.
So, what do you want to do? Well, I'll give her Uncle Nick a call.
He owes me one.
You really know her uncle? Why, did you think I was putting her on? You, yeah.
I guarantee, at this time tomorrow, we'll be meeting her at LaGuardia.
I just got tired of the place.
People, attitude, egos.
Rich ladies getting their boobs and noses done, you know? They treat you like something they stepped in.
Gets old after awhile.
Listen, Angela.
The reason we reached out to your Uncle Nick to get you back here from Chicago.
Yeah? We know that Dr.
Lawrence altered Nora Hackett's intake form.
You do? Yeah.
We had it analyzed by experts.
We can prove it scientifically, in court.
I don't know anything about that.
Forgive me for saying this, Angela, but we think that you do.
And we think you feel bad about it, and that's why you left.
Look, Angela, I'm sorry I got you into this.
I didn't mean to middle you.
Middle me? You know, put you between a rock and a hard place.
Jam you LIP- Why would I be jammed up? I didn't do anything.
We believe that, but if you know all this stuff and you don't say anything, it could all come back on you.
And we don't want to see you take a fall for a quack like Dr.
I didn't actually see him do it, but, yeah, when I went back and looked at the form later, I pretty much knew.
But it's not just the form, okay? Ms.
Hackett called twice after her surgery.
Said she wasn't feeling well.
Said she was tired and dizzy.
Did you tell Dr.
Lawrence that? I did, absolutely.
I put her on hold and I told him.
He said he was busy, he'd get back to her later.
But he never did.
He never called her back.
So how do we know the doctor didn't return her call after he left the office? The police checked all of the records.
He made no calls to Nora Hackett's cell phone or her hotel room that night.
The M.
said that there's an excellent chance the death could've been avoided if she'd been found in time.
And he might well be held liable in a civil suit.
The M.
thinks there's a case to be made for criminally negligent homicide.
It's a very gray area.
Cosmetic surgery.
It's an epidemic in this country.
Whatever happened to aging gracefully? (LAUGHS) Only a man would say that without a trace of irony.
Men age gracefully, Arthur, women just age.
That was actually one of Corrine King's main themes.
Didn't know thrillers were your thing, Serena.
Well, I need some excitement in my life.
Realistically, the only criminal charge we can leverage against Dr.
Lawrence is falsifying business records.
So what do you propose? Step aside.
Let her estate file a civil malpractice suit.
Let them sort it out that way.
Talk about pusillanimous, to use your word.
Lawrence prescribed Nora Hackett a lethal drug combination, which she should have known.
Then he turned his back on her when she called for help, and then he tried to cover it up.
No one's saying he didn't screw up.
BRANCH: Well, I'll tell you what.
If we find out that this was a one-time slipup, I'll be happy to leave it to the family to take him to court.
But if we find a pattern of recklessness and negligence We'll look into Lawrence's practice.
I already did some digging.
It turns out he had a partnership with a doctor at one time.
If you're looking for dirt, an ex-partner's even better than an ex-wife.
Let's just say Alvin Lawrence and I had different styles when it came to running a practice.
I didn't see a surgical wing in your office.
Don't have one.
I prefer to do major procedures in the hospital.
Too many patients end up needing emergency post-op care.
Yours or Dr.
Lawrence's? It's all the same to the insurance company.
Between the skyrocketing malpractice rates and his recklessness, I didn't need the stress.
He's not a good surgeon? In some ways, he's a great surgeon.
But he takes huge risks.
Operates on patients he shouldn't.
So naturally, he has a higher rate of post-op complications and failures.
Not to mention lawsuits and higher premiums for malpractice insurance.
So, what about Nora Hackett? She came to me first.
Wanted what would have been her fifth or sixth cosmetic surgery.
Did you agree to it? I told her to take a break, take some time to think it over.
I even advised her to see a therapist.
Why? Standard practice, as far as I'm concerned.
If a patient has had a number of surgeries, I won't operate on them unless they have a psych consult first.
Did she? Wouldn't dream of it.
She went straight to Alvin.
He had no problem accommodating her.
Why turn away a patient? Cosmetic surgery can't heal all wounds.
You have to understand its limitations and dangers.
It's not a cure-all.
Here we go.
Doctors Barton and Lawrence.
We dropped them a few years back.
Seems like you made quite a bit of money from them before you did.
The premium increases don't tell the whole story.
We paid out a lot more than we ever took in.
Lawsuits? Halfa dozen.
Lawrence? The suits were against the clinic as a whole.
Yeah, Lawrence was named the offender.
It's a matter of public record.
I assume the suits were settled.
They were.
Last straw for us was when a patient went in for a chin tuck and ended up with facial paralysis.
BELMAR: When I was in my late 30s, I began to notice that men didn't look at me on the street anymore.
It was like I suddenly became invisible.
You know what I mean? Of course you don't.
Stupid question.
Anyway, it was then I decided to have my first surgery, liposuction.
I felt like a new person.
Belmar, can you tell me aboutyourexpefience with Dr.
Lawrence? I thought it was going to be a simple chin tuck.
But when I woke up from the anesthesia, the entire left side of my body felt like lead.
I could hardly lift my arm.
They said I'd had a stroke.
What happened? During the pre-op consultation I told Dr.
Lawrence I had myasthenia gravis.
It's a neurological disease another doctor told me could cause complications with sedation.
What did Dr.
Lawrence say? He assured me he'd performed procedures on patients with my condition, and it had never been a problem.
All he had to do was monitor my breathing.
But he didn't do that? When the New York Health Department investigated, they found ten violations in the operating room.
Including a faulty ventilator.
Did Dr.
Lawrence know that the vent was faulty? The Health Department said he did.
I like to tell my patients that I can make dreams come true.
Well, based on these before and after pictures, I'd have to agree with you.
Well, Ms.
Southerlyn, what can we do for you? You know, I've actually changed my mind, but thank you for your time.
You know You know you have great eyes.
Well, thank you very much.
And fabulous cheek bones, just a beautifully proportioned face.
I guess I'm right.
I don't need anything done.
Well, there are a few little things I could touch up.
Here and there.
Oh, yeah, like what? Well, you have some lines around your eyes.
Really? I thought that was just life experience.
Yeah, a mini-brow-lift to help your forehead, a little collagen for the lips, Botox for the area around your mouth.
Benton's coming to.
LAWRENCE: How is she? Cranky.
Well, nothing a martini or two won't cure.
So, how old are you? I'm 31.
You're here just in the nick of time.
Really? I thought I was a little early.
No, when you're younger, laser resurfacing, endoscopic face-lifts, and mini-tucks are the best ways to put off the need for a full face-lift or an eye tuck until you're a lot further down the road.
Chamberlin's prepped and under.
Oh, I'll be there in a minute, Frances.
Look, I'm pretty booked up for the next three months, so if you're interested, you might want to schedule something today.
Really? Yeah, and if you want, you can always come back for another consultation.
For what? To talk about augmentation.
Look, think about it.
It's very nice to meet you.
The question is, in this case, did he cross the line from sloppy and over-booked to criminally negligent homicide? Well, I think so.
He was operating more and more recklessly.
Something like this was bound to happen.
We have to prove two things to a jury, that he caused her death Which he clearly did by prescribing the Demerol.
But was that more than a mistake? And we have to prove that he acted with criminal negligence, not civil.
The statute says that it's criminal negligence when a person engages in conduct that carries a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death will occur.
If that person fails to perceive that risk, and that all of that constitutes a gross deviation from a reasonable standard of care.
Well, I think this absolutely meets the threshold.
I think it's a slam-dunk civil case.
He's already been sued, Jack, and apparently it didn't get his attention.
Now, the responsibility for patient care has got to rest somewhere, and I want this office to serve notice we're not going to tolerate this sort of thing.
It's a matter of protecting the public.
Lawrence's ex-partner said he wouldn't even operate on Nora Hackett.
He even advised that she see a therapist.
Call Dr.
Have her take a look at her files.
And when the police pick up the good doctor, I hope the media is there.
Do the public good to see him on the 11:00 news.
REPORTER 1: Hey, Doctor.
What the hell is this? (REPORTERS CHATTERING) Chin up, Doctor.
REPORTER 2: Doctor! If my client's only crime was tampering with a business document, and I'm not saying he did that, then let him pay the fine, and we'll be on our way.
This isn't the Health Department, Erica.
That document was a medical record, signed by his patient.
People die every day from drug interactions.
Surgery is an inherently risky undertaking.
Which is why we have safeguards and standards, which Dr.
Lawrence ignored on numerous occasions.
Look, everybody knows plastic surgery is a very sexy topic these days.
This office is just chasing headlines.
The only thing we're chasing is a reckless practitioner who preyed on his clients' insecurities.
GARDNER: He's a board certified surgeon who's performed thousands of successful operations.
One accidental death does not a crim-neg homicide make.
This was far from his first misstep.
There were seven lawsuits filed against him in the last five years.
Those cases were all settled out of court.
There are confidentiality provisions in place.
The witness that I spoke to said she had no such provision connected to her settlement.
Ann Belmar.
Belmar? She didn't? She should have.
And we have his receptionist.
She'll be testifying for the People.
McCoy? Detective Fontana.
How's it going in there? We'll see.
I had a conversation last night with Angela Gusmorino's uncle.
Yes? And he heard a rumor that Angela and Dr.
Lawrence had an affair.
And that the affair ended badly, and that's why Angela's testifying against him.
Any proof of that? Italked to some of the women in the office, no one knew anything about it.
But I thought I'd tell you about it in case the defense heard the same rumor, you wouldn't get caught in the switches.
What do you think? I think Angela Gusmorino is a straight shooter.
Maybe the defense started the rumor and got cold feet.
Could be.
In any case, I hope you nail this son of a bitch to the wall.
ANGELA: Nora called twice after her surgery.
She was complaining about not feeling well.
She said she was dizzy.
Did you tell Dr.
Lawrence about these calls? I put her on hold both times and told Dr.
Lawrence what she was saying.
He said he'd call her back.
And did he? No.
Did he return any calls that afternoon or evening? As he was leaving, he called La Pergola to say he was running late.
JACK: La Pergola? The restaurant.
He was having dinner there before going to a show.
Nothing further.
Hackett had seen Dr.
Lawrence for surgery before, hadn't she, on several occasions? Yes.
And after each one of her previous surgeries, did she call him? Dr.
Lawrence asked all of his patients to call after surgery, to check in.
And how many times would they call, typically? Once or twice.
What about Ms.
Hackett? Two, three times.
Sometimes more.
For what reason? To complain.
About what? How she was feeling.
Her stitches were too tight.
She was groggy, nauseous, that kind of thing.
Did she ever complain about pain? Sometimes.
Headaches, tenderness.
Did Dr.
Lawrence speak with her? Usually, yeah.
And in response to her complaints, what would Dr.
Lawrence usually prescribe? Usually Aspirin and bed rest.
This was a more serious surgery, so he prescribed Demerol.
So, she was a complainer.
You could say that.
Is that how you and your co-workers thought of her, as a complainer? We used to say she was high-maintenance.
JACK: Did you ever meet the decedent, Nora Hackett, AKA Corrine King? No.
Then what is the basis of your professional opinion? The methodology of case study.
You review the full scope of her medical records, you interview family members, friends, colleagues, even the doorman.
And were you able to make a diagnosis? Based on all the available data, it's very likely that Nora Hackett suffered from Body Dysmorphic: Disorder, an obsessive preoccupation, a fixation on a perceived defect in one's physical appearance.
Is it an illness that only a psychologist or psychiatrist is trained to deal with? Yes.
But all medical students are trained to diagnose it.
Especially plastic surgeons, because they encounter with much more frequency.
And if you have a patient with symptoms of body dysmorphia? It's the responsibility of the surgeon to insist on a psychiatric consult before performing surgery.
According to the medical records, did Dr.
Lawrence ever, through all her visits and all her surgeries, ever send Nora Hackett for a psychiatric consult? No.
Your witness.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most beautiful of them all? Where to start? A preoccupation with a perceived physical defect.
It sounds so mushy.
Isn't it almost too subjective to diagnose? Not when the patient tells everyone that her biggest problem is being fat, or ugly, and then subjects herself to frequent and multiple major surgeries.
There were more than eight million elective cosmetic surgery procedures last year in this country alone.
Are all those patients Body Dysmorphic? Nora Hackett was.
Maybe we all are.
Is there anyone in this room who is satisfied with the way you look? You're trivializing a serious illness.
Aren't you infantilizing women if you take away their choice to have surgery by handing that decision over to a doctor? Not if the patient suffers from delusions that diminish herjudgment.
Would you prescribe diet pills to someone who suffers from anorexia because she thinks she's fat? Plastic surgery is serious business.
So is abortion.
Would you give doctors the right to require women to have a psychiatric consult before scheduling an abortion? Objection.
Relevance? Dr.
OLIVET: No, I'll answer.
If the physician observes symptoms of mental illness, there is a clear obligation to try to get the patient help before performing an abortion, plastic surgery, or any other elective procedure.
What if that patient refuses that help? Disputes that diagnosis? Do we forbid her to choose? Never mind, it's all academic since you never met Nora King.
May I? Please.
Cosmetic surgery, abortion? They're both legal, they're both elective, and they're both a matter of choice.
You haven't had any cosmetic work done.
Why are you trying to turn this into a feminist issue? Because it is.
Would you be asking a male defense attorney that question? I just wonder why a champion of women's rights is defending a man who makes his living exploiting women's insecurities? Elective surgery isn't something that should be legislated through the courtroom, Jack.
I'm not legislating anything.
I'm just prosecuting a murder.
You should take a walk on the Upper East Side, Jack, where every third woman has had something tucked, pulled, enlarged, or lifted.
And it's not just women.
Spend a little time in a corporate boardroom these days and see how many moguls have gone from dyeing their gray hair to lifting their sagging chins.
No, thanks.
You're really convinced he belongs in jail? My boss is.
Lawrence will lose his license anyway, and her sister's civil suit will bankrupt him.
Is that why you came down here, to get us to drop the charges? Dr.
Lawrence crossed the line.
If he had sent her to a psychiatrist instead of operating on her She just would have gone to another doctor.
He didn't cross the line, Jack.
He just made a terrible, terrible mistake.
I'm not some cut-happy charlatan.
I'm a board certified surgeon and a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
How do you explain what happened to Ms.
Hackett? It was an accident.
She never told me that she was taking Nardil.
Would you have prescribed Demerol, had you known? Of course not.
We heard testimony that her surgical intake form was altered.
I don't know anything about that.
You didn't change the form to cover up your mistake? No, I did not.
To save your lucrative practice? I don't need the money.
I have more than enough to retire and live well.
It's been suggested that you are careless, even reckless.
I'm human.
I make mistakes.
But to suggest that I don't care about my patients? Nothing could be further from the truth.
You don't rush through these procedures? On the contrary, what I do is like creating a sculpture or designing a garden, pruning one rose at a time.
I feel a deep obligation to every one of my patients.
I'm important to them.
They need me.
At $10,000 to $15,000 a procedure, Dr.
Lawrence, who can afford to be your patient? If it were up to me, cosmetic surgery would be covered under health insurance.
It's expensive, risky.
The results are worth the risk.
You look better and you live better.
You get the better table at the restaurant, the betterjob, even the better spouse.
Have you availed yourself of the benefits of plastic surgery? I would if I could be the doctor holding the scalpel.
When Nora Hackett first came to you, wasn't she already the successful novelist Corrine King? Yeah.
And you performed how many surgeries on her? Five.
In addition to the five she'd had previously? Well, it was her body, her choice.
Her choice even if she was suffering from Body Dysmorphia? After all those surgeries, when she requested this latest one, why didn't you send her for a psych consult? I could do more for her than any psychologist or psychiatrist practicing talk therapy.
By making her prettier? Which made her happier.
Did it? Then why was she taking anti-depressants? Objection.
JACK: Nothing further.
McCoy? Dr.
Lawrence? What are you doing here? I wanted to speak with you, if I may.
This is highly improper, sir.
I can't talk to you without your attorney present.
But that's what I wanted to talk to you about, my attorney.
Gardner? What about her? I don't think she's doing an adequate job of representing me.
She's doing a superb job, with a difficult case.
You're lucky to have her.
She made a mistake, putting me on the stand like that.
Now, the jury didn't like me.
Icould tell.
And then, asking me who altered the records? Not that I know, but it made me look Why she'd do that? She had to.
To preempt me asking the question.
But you didn't ask.
The 'wry knows who doctored those records.
I can't believe this is happening to me! I can't go to jail! My patients love me.
They wait six months for an appointment.
Don't you get it? I change people's lives.
They can't just go to some other doctor.
This is a nightmare! Of your own making! You don't get it, do you? Good night, Dr.
Is there still time to strike some sort of arrangement? You could plead guilty.
JUDGE: Have you reached a verdict? We have.
On the count of the indictment, criminally negligent homicide, as to the defendant, Alvin Lawrence, how do you find? FOREMAN: We find the defendant guilty.
The jury is dismissed with the thanks of the court.
(GAVEL BANGS) It's a Class "E" felony.
He'll do four years, tops.
For a professional like Lawrence, his life is over.