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Smith's doctor defends treatment

Physician reveals few details. Meanwhile, the former playmate's 2001 will is released, further clouding the status of her estate.

February 17, 2007|Charles Proctor | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles doctor placed under scrutiny after reports that he had prescribed methadone to Anna Nicole Smith said Friday that his treatment for the deceased Playboy playmate was "medically sound and appropriate."

A Medical Board of California inquiry into Dr. Sandeep Kapoor began after documents surfaced on a celebrity website suggesting that he had prescribed methadone to Smith, according to a board spokeswoman.

The prescription reportedly was written in the name of an alias that Smith used. The medical board is looking into, among other things, whether it is illegal for a physician to prescribe medication to a patient under a false name.

Kapoor, who has an office in Studio City, said in a statement through his lawyer that he cannot release details about Smith's treatment because of patient confidentiality.

But a source familiar with the situation said that Kapoor prescribed Smith methadone for pain management. Methadone is a painkiller that is also used to treat heroin addicts.

The website suggested the prescription was issued when Smith, who left behind a 5-month-old daughter, was pregnant. Kapoor's statement said that "methadone is approved for use by pregnant patients."

It also noted that the media attention to Smith's death "underscores why public figures may choose to use pseudonyms in order to protect the privacy of their medical treatment."

Candis Cohen, a spokeswoman for the medical board, declined to comment on Kapoor's statement except to say that the agency's review is ongoing.

Kapoor will cooperate with authorities and is confident of the outcome of the review, according to the statement.

According to the medical board's website, Kapoor received his physician license in 1998. He has incurred no previous disciplinary action.

Smith, who was a former jeans model, was found dead in a Hollywood, Fla., hotel suite on Feb. 8. She was 39. The medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death.

Also Friday, the question of who will inherit Smith's estate was thrown into further confusion with the release of a 2001 will that stated her fortune should be held in trust for her son -- who died last year.

The 19-page will did not say how much Smith's estate was worth.

The document said Smith's lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, should be her executor and hold her estate in trust for son Daniel Smith. But the 20-year-old died last September of apparent drug-related causes, days after the birth of Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.

The will explicitly states that no one except the son shall inherit any part of the estate.

charles.proctor@latimes.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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