First, the public release of the autopsy report is likely to be delayed, possibly for months. The complex issues and possible prosecution of the doctors involved are said to be causing authorities to take more time before concluding their investigation of the death. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has more:
Prince appeared to have been dead for at least six hours before his body was found in a Paisley Park elevator last month, a responding paramedic told staff members, law enforcement officers and others at the scene….
Sources with knowledge of the investigation have told the Star Tribune that despite putting on a calm face after his emergency treatment for an opioid overdose in Moline, Ill., on April 15, Prince grew increasingly agitated in the following days. That prompted one member of his staff to place a call to New York at 6 a.m. on April 20 — the day before the musician’s body was found — seeking advice from someone who had recently worked with the musician, a source said.
Later that day, Prince was given an intravenous treatment at a local hospital, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.
It’s not clear whether that visit came before or after the doctor treating him for withdrawal symptoms made a house call that evening at Paisley Park.
According to several sources, Prince’s staff eventually reached out to Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, a well-known environmental and labor activist in the San Francisco Bay Area who has been credited with helping Prince recover the rights to his early catalog of songs from Warner Bros.
Ellis-Lamkins called Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a pain and addiction specialist in Mill Valley, Calif., seeking his help to get the musician off prescription painkillers, the sources said.
Her call would have been placed less than 12 hours before Prince’s body was discovered.
Ellis-Lamkins, reached by phone, declined to comment. “I cared deeply about him, and I am not ready to speak publicly,” she wrote the Star Tribune in a follow-up e-mail. “I also know how much he valued his privacy and want to respect his wishes.”
Ellis-Lamkins is a close associate of Van Jones, a Yale-trained lawyer and environmental and social activist who briefly served as a special adviser to the Obama administration. Jones, now a commentator for CNN, was close to Prince and his surviving siblings and attended a recent probate hearing in Carver County District Court to lend his support….
Bill Mauzy, a Minneapolis attorney who has spoken on Kornfeld’s behalf, has said that Kornfeld is widely known for his use of buprenorphine to help wean users from opioids….
In earlier interviews, Mauzy said that Kornfeld couldn’t leave California immediately to meet with Prince, so he sent his son Andrew — who works with his father’s clinic — to Minnesota to explain the treatment. Mauzy represents Andrew Kornfeld.
Court records show that Andrew Kornfeld arrived at Paisley Park the morning of April 21. Sources have told the Star Tribune that he arrived with Kirk Johnson — Prince’s longtime friend, drummer and business associate — and Meron Bekure, Prince’s assistant. It was Johnson and Bekure who found Prince unconscious in an elevator and began screaming.
Andrew Kornfeld called 911 at 9:43 a.m. and said that Prince appeared to be dead, according to the transcript of the call. Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg arrived at Paisley Park a short time later and after paramedics were on the scene, according to one source. A search warrant filed in the death investigation said Schulenberg told investigators that he had treated Prince twice in April — including the day before Prince’s body was found — and that he had arrived at Paisley Park to deliver some test results.
The painkiller Percocet was present in Prince’s body when he died, and pills were found at the death scene, sources with knowledge of the investigation previously told the Star Tribune….
Andrew Kornfeld was carrying buprenorphine with him when he arrived at Paisley Park, though he is not licensed to administer prescription drugs. Mauzy has said Howard Kornfeld gave the drug to his son to bring to another, unidentified Minnesota doctor who is specially certified to prescribe the drug and who had planned to see Prince the morning he was found dead. Mauzy said the Kornfelds never provided buprenorphine to Prince, however.
“Andrew did not deliver or dispense or administer any medication to Prince,” Mauzy said Friday. “It is obvious that Andrew had nothing whatsoever to do with Prince’s death.”
TMZ has suggested a conspiracy theory based on leaked police reports — we’ll soon know more when the autopsy report is made public, but they suggest (contrary to Dr. Kornfeld’s son’s lawyer’s statements) that buprenorphine might have been given to Prince before his death. If that were true, it’s well-known that incautious addition of buprenorphine to an existing high level of opiates can precipitate a withdrawal crisis. While I doubt this version of events is what happened, if it turns out to be true we will have another celebrity doctor trial fiasco a la Michael Jackson’s. Kornfeld’s son is on shaky legal ground and Prince’s local doctor could reasonably be accused of malpractice.
Here’s a bit from TMZ’s latest story:
As we reported, Prince’s doctor, Michael Schulenberg, told authorities he went to Prince’s home to personally deliver test results. Andrew Kornfeld, the son of California rehab Dr. Howard Kornfeld, was also present and had Buprenorphine pills in his backpack. The pills are used to treat opiate addiction.
Andrew’s lawyer held a news conference saying Andrew was not there to personally administer the drug, but he was there to deliver the pills to a local doctor. That’s why cops think it might be more than coincidental Kornfeld and Dr. Schulenberg were there at the same time … when Prince died.
That’s all speculation. But until the autopsy report is released, we can imagine the celebrity doctor trial that may be coming. Big stars seem to feel safer with doctors who will bend the rules to give them what they want. Sometimes that means they die prematurely because their doctor doesn’t want to confront them about their addictions.
UPDATED 2 JUNE 2016:
The preliminary autopsy report has been released showing cause of death as an overdose of Fentanyl, an opioid stronger than morphine or heroin. The report is minimal and gives no hint of what investigators might have found or what legal actions Prince’s doctors may face.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
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Death by HR: How Affirmative Action is Crippling America
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Death by HR: History and Practice of Affirmative Action and the EEOC
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Corrupt Feedback Loops: Justice Dept. Extortion
Corrupt Feedback Loops, Goldman Sachs: More Justice Dept. Extortion
Death by HR: The Birth and Evolution of the HR Department
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Levellers and Redistributionists: The Feudal Underpinnings of Socialism
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Trump World: Looking Backward
Minimum Wage: The Parable of the Ladder
Culture Wars: Co-Existence Through Limited Government
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Affirmative Action: Caste Reservation in India
Diversity Hires: Pressure on High Tech<a
Title IX Totalitarianism is Gender-Neutral
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
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The Death of “Wired”: Hugo Awards Edition
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