Federal agents raid Tennessee pain management doctor’s office

LEWISBURG, Tenn. -- Authorities confirm federal agents raided a Tennessee doctor's office Tuesday. Dr. Mark Murphy practices in Lewisburg, TN as a pain management specialist, and federal agents paid him a visit Tuesday morning.

FBI Birmingham through spokesman Paul Daymond confirmed FBI was at Dr. Murphy's office "for a law enforcement action." He said that's all the information he can give. The US Attorney's office in Birmingham confirms that federal agents executed a search warrant there, but did not reveal what they were looking for.

Kathy Wilbourn, a patient who says she depends on pain medication just to get out of bed, said she encountered the agents when she went to her Tuesday appointment.

"They had a moving truck and it was backed up to the door, and they're carrying out things. I'm just intercepted and told that office is going to be closed today and most likely tomorrow," she recalls.

She said her first thought was, "Here we go again."

Wilbourn says she has had to find a new doctor before, and that's how she came to Dr. Murphy in the first place. She said she was previously a patient of Dr. Shelinder Aggarwal's before that doctor surrendered his medical license. Dr. Aggarwal was sentenced last year to 15 years in federal prison for illegally prescribing controlled substances and conducting health care fraud involving $9.5 million in unnecessary and unused urine tests, according to a federal judge.

Dr. Murphy is no stranger to trouble, either. WHNT News 19 tried to visit him at his Lewisburg practice after he left his Alabama practice and let his Alabama medical license expire. He had been accused of over-prescribing pills, among other things, although the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners later dismissed the complaint against him.

WHNT News 19 found that Dr. Murphy holds a medical license in the state of Tennessee with a specialty in anesthesiology. It is set to expire, if he does not renew it, on March 31, 2019. A Tennessee Department of Health search shows he was board certified in pain management and anesthesiology. He holds staff privileges at Marshall Medical Center in Lewisburg.

Wilbourn said Tuesday's raid on Dr. Murphy's Tennessee practice leaves her without crucial medication, and she's worried: "Horrified," she stated. She fears the withdrawal that may come for medications she said she has safely used since 2004.

"My back is literally crumbling, and has been for some time," she explained. "Right now, my spinal cord is being compressed. The surgery I had planned for Thursday was in an effort to free up the spinal cord."

Wilbourn said she is one of "many" patients left wondering what to do now. She doesn't know what happens next, or where to turn to find out when the practice will reopen or if she can even pick up her records to search in another region for another doctor to prescribe her what she needs.

"I'm in harm's way. I have enough medication to do me through the morning. After that, I have nothing," she explained. "I might add that in order for me to get my medications, and anyone else that goes there, we go through scrutiny and drug screenings."

Wilbourn said she wants answers. She also wants federal agents to consider the patients when they shut offices down. She's urging them to come up with a way that gives the displaced patients a fair path forward.

"This has to stop. If they're going to investigate a doctor or a facility, they have to go about it the right way. They have to have a plan for the innocent patients that are there. The ones that are bona fide and have a medical history," she urged. "There's a big hole in the system, and I think it's not broken. it's shattered. There's a gaping hole for the patients that do comply... I don't sell, I don't buy, I don't loan [medicine]," she said. "I'm just trying to get through life and stay on my feet."