by George Nichopoulos, M.D. with Rose Clayton Phillips.
This book highlights the story behind the death of Elvis Presley, some twenty plus years ago. Though many books came before it, none offer the viewpoint from the Doctor himself who was faced with the task of keeping one of his best friends, also the biggest megastar at that time, healthy enough to meet the demands of his adoring public. One might ask why it has taken so long to write such a book, and the answer is simple. It has taken over twenty years for Dr. George Nichopoulos to fight the legal battles, medical investigations and media attacks that followed the death of Elvis.
Though he was not present at Graceland in Memphis on August 16, 1977, he answered an emergency call for help from Joe Esposito, Elvis’s Road Manager, that simply said, “Something’s happened to Elvis.”
Dr. Nick, as he was affectionately known, responded to the scene in time to crawl in the back of the ambulance and ride with Elvis to the hospital, performing CPR the entire time. With another team of doctors that met them in a trauma room at Baptist Hospital, Dr. Nick was the one who would pronounce him dead after their fervent attempts to revive him failed. Dr. Nick signed the Death Certificate. Dr. Nick broke the news to his friends in the nearby waiting room, who knew the truth as soon as they saw the tears rolling down his own face. It was Dr. Nick who then rode back on the ambulance to Graceland so he could tell Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father, who waited there for the news with his nine-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie.
This story is as much about the inner workings of the circle that surrounded Elvis as it is about the Doctor who attempted to keep him healthy enough to meet the demands of his adoring public. The media did not care about the role Dr. Nick played in Elvis’s life until after his death. And as news spread of the loss of Elvis, Dr. Nick was as hurt as much by the way they tarnished the image of his friend, Elvis, as he was about his own image.
Filling in the ten years they spent together, this story highlights the impossible demands of performing two shows a day that Elvis was required to do for many of his tours. To be so young, Elvis had many health issues, some brought on genetically and others caused by his extreme lifestyle. Dr. Nick and Elvis found a good balance of treatment while he was home at Graceland, but much was out of his control when Elvis was on the road. Still, even years after his death, Dr. Nick was shocked to discover that when the media needed someone to blame for his death, the search would stop with him.
After facing criminal charges, the eventual loss of his medical license, and numerous inquiries that prevented him from treating patients adequately over the past twenty years, Dr. Nick still searches for answers in his own quest to understand what happened to Elvis. He may never be able to set the record straight for the public, but feels that he owes it to his friend, even after all of this time.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Janet Morris Grimes
Any day spent writing is the best day of my life...