MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Court papers have identified a Twin Cities doctor who was treating Prince just prior to his death last month. He worked at North Memorial Medical Center’s Minnetonka Clinic.
A search warrant filed in Hennepin County District Court authorized the search of Prince’s medical records at the hospital in Robbinsdale last week. This comes after investigators in a caravan of vehicles returned to Paisley Park Tuesday where they continued their investigation for several hours.
His name is Dr. Michael Schulenberg. He’s a family practitioner. That search warrant shows that he told Carver County deputies he’d treated Prince on April 7 and April 20, but it doesn’t say for what. And now North Memorial Medical Center says Dr. Schulenberg doesn’t work there anymore.
The document shows Dr. Michael Schulenberg told deputies he arrived at Paisley Park the morning Prince was found dead to drop off test results. That’s one day after the doctor says he met with Prince.
Schulenberg also told investigators that he had prescribed medications to Prince and the prescriptions were to be filled at a Walgreen’s.
Last week, a lawyer representing a California doctor said that Prince was getting help for an addiction to opioid prescription pain.
Dr. JoAn Laes is an addiction specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center.
“Opioid withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable,” she said. “Patients I’ve talked to have likened it to an extremely bad flu. You get a lot of muscle aches, joint aches, you get really nauseous, you have a hard time sleeping, you may have some diarrhea.”
Dr. Laes says doctors are required to report the prescriptions they write for patients and hospitals keep those records.
“In Minnesota, I know that we have to document any visits we have with patients and what our management plan is with them,” she said.
She says there are several drugs that doctors can prescribe to help treat opioid addiction.
“If you are evaluated by a doctor and they know the other medications you are on and your medical conditions, these are very safe medications,” she said. “However, the problem comes if they are misused, or you don’t reveal the other medications you are on, that’s when they become unsafe.”
She noted one drug used to treat opioid addiction that can only be prescribed by doctors who have been certified to administer it — buprenorphine.
“I think the fact that it is an opiate itself and they want to make sure people are getting the care they need and are in close relationship with a doctor, and the doctor is aware of any risks of prescribing, and any unique side effects of the medication,” Dr. Laes said.
Dr. Laes warned against giving unused prescription drugs to family and friends.
“Don’t share your medications with members of your family, even if you think they have the same condition I had, there are just so many other things that can go on medically that you may not be aware of that can cause your friend or family member harm,” she said.
When WCCO went by Dr. Schulenberg’s home in Excelsior last night, no one was home. A neighbor told us the doctor’s family packed up two vehicles on Saturday and left. They haven’t seen them since.
Dr. Laes at HCMC says overdoses from opioid pain killers have quadrupled in recent years, and many are not aware of the dangers.