Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Adventures of Larry Flynt

Excruciating Pain

A wounded Flynt is carried away after the shooting
A wounded Flynt is carried away after the shooting

His abdominal artery had been severed, and he was bleeding out. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where doctors removed six feet of his intestines and did their best to stop the internal bleeding, but there was one leak they couldn't locate. Flynt was given continuous transfusions, but his doctors knew he couldn't survive for long like that. A medevac helicopter took him to a larger facility, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where he endured 11 surgeries to find the leak. Finally a CAT scan, which was relatively new to medical technology at the time, pinpointed the problem. A piece of shrapnel had nicked an artery one-half inch from his heart. The doctors succeeded in repairing the damage, but Flynt's problems were just beginning.

The bullet had damaged a collection of nerves at the base of his spine, leaving his legs paralyzed but in excruciating pain. If the slug had severed his spine, he would have still been paralyzed but pain free. The pain was unremitting, leaving him feeling as if he were "suspended in a vat of boiling water."

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA
Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA

Unable to accept a God who could allow such merciless torment, Flynt renounced Christianity and relocated to Los Angeles where he bought a mansion that had been built by actor Errol Flynn, and at various times had been the home of actor Robert Stack, actor Tony Curtis, and Sonny and Cher while they were married. In his never-ending quest to get some relief from his pain, Flynt became a drug addict, taking a concoction prescribed for terminally ill cancer patients called a "Brompton Cocktail," which consisted of "60 percent morphine, 30 percent pharmaceutical grade cocaine, and 10 percent alcohol mixed into a mint-flavored syrup base." He had also been prescribed every major pain-killing medication on the market and as a result overdosed regularly. But his heart was strong, and he always managed to survive. Perhaps what kept him going was his dedication to the two things in life that mattered most to him: the First Amendment and pornography. These twin passions have given Larry Flynt a unique position in the annals of American criminal justice: he has been a celebrated criminal as well as a celebrated victim of crime.

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