Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured Monday (December 8) when his four-wheel ATV crashed on the grounds of his Buckinghamshire Estate in England.
The 55-year-old singer broke his collarbone, six ribs and a vertebra in his neck, according to his publicist. At press time he was undergoing surgery to lift the collarbone off a major artery, which was interfering with blood flow to his arm. He was also experiencing bleeding in his lungs.
The injuries are not life-threatening, the publicist said. Osbourne was in the U.K. to promote the single "Changes," a duet with his daughter Kelly (see "Elton John Advises Kelly And Ozzy On Changing 'Changes' ").
News of Ozzy's injury coincides with reports that Osbourne's staggering, stuttering and general oafishness wasn't wholly the result of past LSD abuse or standing in front of "30 billion decibels" for the last 35 years.
Rather, his visibly unstable condition stemmed from a stupor-causing cocktail of prescription drugs — as many as 42 pills a day — that had been given to him by a Beverly Hills doctor who'd been under investigation for malpractice at the time, Osbourne told the Los Angeles Times.
In an interview with the Times published Sunday. Osbourne claims Dr. David A. Kipper instructed him to take the dangerous concoction to help alleviate the anxiety and depression he underwent after his wife, Sharon, was diagnosed with cancer (see "Sharon Osbourne To Undergo Cancer Surgery, Two Ozzfest Shows Postponed"). Valium, Dexedrine, Mysoline, Adderall and an array of opiates, tranquilizers, amphetamines and antidepressants were being taken on a daily basis, prescription records uncovered by the paper show.
"I was wiped out on pills," Osbourne told the Times. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. I could barely stand up. I was lumbering about like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It got to the point where I was scared to close my eyes at night — afraid I might not wake up."
Osbourne sought Dr. Kipper's help in June 2002 to overcome a dependency on prescription drugs, though the doctor is uncertified as a specialist in addiction medicine or psychiatry. A 10-day detoxification program in which Kipper used the synthetic opiate buprenorphine as treatment seemed to work, but at that time it was illegal to use the drug for rehab purposes in this country. The Food and Drug Administration has since approved its use under strict conditions.
Kipper's prescription pad was used with increasing frequency upon Sharon's diagnosis with colon cancer a month later. Ozzy was reportedly on 13 medications that, according to medical experts procured by the Times, appeared excessive, though they refrained from making definitive judgments without examining Osbourne personally and knowing his medical history.
Kipper also prescribed anti-anxiety medication to Sharon, who has since been told she is cancer-free (see "Sharon Osbourne Declared Cancer-Free; Bat-Biting Biopic Discussed").
Last week the Medical Board of California moved to strip Kipper of his license for over-prescribing medication to eight other patients from 1999 to 2002. The state began an investigation in 1998 after the Times discovered he was treating celebrity drug addicts at the posh bungalows at Beverly Hills' Peninsula Hotel.
The 55-year-old doctor said in a statement that ethical and medical privacy laws prohibited him from discussing any patient's care. Kipper's attorney, John D. Harwell, meanwhile, told the paper that "virtually every allegation" is "inaccurate, incomplete, or ... false."
An Osbourne spokesperson said there are no plans for a civil lawsuit.
Kipper has a reputation for being something of a celebrity Dr. Feelgood, the Times alleged. His clientele includes actors, musicians and entertainment executives, with whom he regularly socializes. He's a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild and has had bit parts in the films "As Good as It Gets," "Shallow Hal" and "Jackass: The Movie." He also appeared in an episode of "The Osbournes."
Among the drugs Osbourne was taking included Mysoline, a barbiturate used to prevent seizures, which counts dizziness and a lack of muscle coordination as its side effects, and the antipsychotic Zyprexa, which sometimes causes shaking and a ponderous, stiff gait. Last December, two months after starting the Zyprexa regimen, Kipper prescribed carbidopa-levodopa to relieve its side effects.
Such overmedicating may have contributed to the tremors that indirectly forced Osbourne to cancel a European tour in October (see "Dry Mouth Forces Ozzy To Postpone European Tour Again"). Under the care of Boston physician Dr. Allan H. Ropper, he was taken off the panoply of pills. "I felt like a rattle at the end of the day because there were so many pills in me," Ozzy said at the time (see "Ozzy Regains Control Of His Health, Says He Finally 'Feels Good Again' "). He also chalked up his tremors to a hereditary condition.