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Doctor's diary tells of 'blurring the lines' with patient Anna Nicole Smith

'Can she ruin me?' asked Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, according to the document read aloud at a hearing. An investigator presents evidence suggesting the internist may have tried to forge medical records.

October 29, 2009|Harriet Ryan

When the raucous gay pride parade coursed through West Hollywood's thronged streets four years ago, a slim, soft-spoken physician from Studio City rode in the back of a shiny convertible next to one of his patients, Anna Nicole Smith.

"It was mesmerizing watching the crowd wave at us, at Anna and me, up there all buffed out on the car," Dr. Sandeep Kapoor recalled in his diary. Even more heady than the police escort and the paparazzi, he wrote, was the nightclub after-party.

"I was making out with Anna, my patient, blurring the lines. I gave her methadone, Valium," the internist wrote. He then added, "Can she ruin me?"

The question, apparently scribbled in confidence, was read aloud Wednesday by a judge who will determine whether Kapoor and two others should face prosecution and potential prison sentences for illegally providing the late Playboy playmate with prescription medication.

For much of the hearing, Kapoor, 41, has come off as a minor player in Smith's life in comparison with co-defendants Howard K. Stern, her constant companion until her 2007 death, and Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, who provided the drugs blamed in her fatal overdose.

But this week, prosecutors turned their attention to Kapoor, her primary physician from 2004 to 2006. An expert testified Tuesday that the doctor overprescribed addictive medication despite Smith's history of addiction. On Wednesday, prosecutors offered the diary as proof that Kapoor had qualms about his dealings with Smith while an investigator presented evidence suggesting that the doctor may have tried to forge medical records.

Jon Genens of the state medical board said medical records for Smith were found hidden in Kapoor's bedroom closet during an unannounced search of his home eight months after the model died. The investigator said the discovery in a stack of shirts came after Kapoor told officers that he did not "usually" keep patient records at home and that his attorney had Smith's records.

Some of the records in the closet concerned Kapoor's treatment of Smith's son, Daniel, who died of a prescription drug overdose five months before his mother, Genens said. Other documents bore Smith's name. The records reflected the same dates as appointments in the main file retrieved from Kapoor's attorney but contained different information, Genens said.

One of half a dozen examples he cited was an Aug. 25, 2006, patient progress report he said was found in the closet. It described the pregnant Smith as telling Kapoor that she was "doing well," while a record with the same date seized from the defense lawyer's office referred to Smith's pregnancy as "high risk" and said she was "opioid dependent."

Like his co-defendants, Kapoor has pleaded not guilty and through his attorney said he was only trying to help Smith. According to his diary, Kapoor had grappled with prescription drug abuse himself. In 2002, the physician wrote, "I also need to get off the drugs, the BuSpar, Wellbutrin have to go. But first the Ambien has got to go. My God, it's so addicting."

Cross-examining the investigator, Kapoor's attorney noted that the doctor mentioned Smith only once in the 800-page diary. After the hearing, the lawyer, Ellyn Garofalo, said Kapoor was openly gay and had no romantic interest in Smith. The diary entry, she said, reflected "a very conscientious doctor."

"He was with her on one occasion and realized that was conduct that should not be repeated. It was an isolated incident," she said.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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