08 Jun Stanford Addiction Doctor Had Drug Cocktail in System
The Stanford neurosurgeon who died in a solo plane crash near Lake Tahoe in August 2008 had a cocktail of drugs in his system, including opiates, cocaine, Prozac, mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotic drugs. The accomplished doctor was known for his work on the neuropharmacology of addiction and had a long history of substance abuse himself.
Doyle John Borchers III, 41, was a student pilot and wasn’t authorized for the dangerous nighttime flight from Palo Alto to Reno; he had only gone through one session of night training the evening before the crash and hadn’t flown more than 50 nautical miles before. Borchers crashed into a mountainside in Nevada and the wreckage was found the next day. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said that particular flight can be challenging even for expert pilots. Witnesses say they believe Borchers was flying to Reno to gamble.
“The substances identified in the NTSB report are prohibited medicines and nobody should be flying with them in their system,” said Gregor. “If a pilot came to us and acknowledged taking medication like that, we would deny them a medical certificate,” which is required for flight.
Records show that Borchers denied using any medication on December 20, 2007, on his application for a medical certificate and student pilot certificate. At the time of the accident, Borchers was in his second year as a clinical instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine, and was working with Dr. John Adler, the inventor of an advice called the CyberKnife, which is used in the treatment of brain tumors. Adler told the Bay Area News Group that Borchers had come to him with an idea to use the CyberKnife to treat the neurological roots of addiction.
Records also show that Borchers was under investigation by the Medical Board of California and was in danger of losing his medical license due to his substance abuse.
An accusation “documented a history of substance dependence and abuse for more than 10 years preceding the accident, involving the misuse of at least four different substances (including alcohol) and treatment through at least six different programs for substance-related disorders during that period.”
Source: Mercury News, Cocktail of Drugs Found in Stanford Doctor Who Died in Solo Plane Crash, June 5, 2009
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