George Constantine Nichopoulos
(1927 -) also known as "Dr. Nick" was an American doctor
, of Greek
descent. He is best known as Elvis Presley
's personal physician
, and controversial due to the singer's longstanding and ultimately fatal abuse of prescription drugs.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Nichopoulos was moved to Anniston, AL during his infancy where his father, a Greek immigrant, opened a restaurant called "Gus' Sanitary Cafe." Dr. Nichopoulos earned his MD
at Vanderbilt University
Medical School in 1959, after studying at the University of the South, Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He began treating Elvis in 1967, and took it on as a full time job in 1970 until Elvis' death in 1977. In 1985, he started a solo practice called We Care, Inc.
After he was stripped of his credentials in 1995, Dr Nick worked for a short time as Jerry Lee Lewis
's road manager. He later took a job evaluating medical insurance claims by FedEx
In 1980, he was indicted on 14 counts of overprescribing drugs to Elvis Presley
and Jerry Lee Lewis
, as well as twelve other patients. The district-attorney ruled out murder charges because of the conflicting medical opinions about the cause of Presley's death.
In 1977 alone, Nichopoulos had prescribed over 10,000 doses of amphetamines
, sleeping pills
, and hormones
for Presley. Dr. Nichopoulos claimed he had tried in vain to reduce Elvis' dependency, even going so far as to manufacture one thousand placebos
for Elvis, but to no avail. The jury concluded that he had tried to act in the best interests of his patients. He was acquitted on all counts. Also in 1980, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners found him guilty of overprescription, but decided that he was not unethical. They imposed three months' suspension of his licence and three years' probation.
In 1995 Nichopoulos had his license permanently suspended by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, after it was revealed that he had been overprescribing to numerous patients for years. Dr. Nichopoulos claimed it was for patients that suffered from inoperable chronic pain, but he was unsuccessful in his defense. During his many appeals, Dr Nick admitted to the board that he had overprescribed. 'I cared too much,' he told them. During his court cases many friends supported him, raising money and holding benefits to pay for court costs.