Ohio Doctor Facing Murder Charges For Overprescribing Fentanyl

Case History

In a case that is described as one of the biggest of its kind, an Ohio doctor has been charged with murder relating to the deaths of 25 patients under his care. He has been indicted with 25 counts of murder relating to these patients. He is accused of ordering large doses of painkilling medication to patients that were nearing the end of their lives. Many of these patients were on ventilators or other devices helping them stay alive. These patients died during a three-year period from 2015-2018. None of the staff who actually administered the painkillers are facing criminal charges since the theory is that they were ordered to give these doses by the doctor, and they were just doing their jobs. The prosecutor in this case likened what the doctor did to blowing out a candle that is nearly out. He said, “the candle, while there may be just a half an inch of wax left, if I blow that candle out, I’m causing that flame to go out sooner than it would naturally.” The defense has looked to paint a different picture. The doctor’s attorney has stated that the doctor was trying to provide comfort care to these patients and was not attempting to euthanize anyone. He further said that these patients were soon going to die whether they were being treated by this doctor or someone else. The local health system reviewed medical records relating to this doctor and stated that he ordered potentially fatal doses to 29 patients. The case will hinge on whether the prosecution is able to prove that the doctor deliberately tried to essentially euthanize his patients with painkiller overdoses.

The Danger Of Fentanyl

The danger of fentanyl as a recreational drug has been well documented and on the rise. Medically, fentanyl has been an extremely popular painkiller in the United States. As a painkiller, fentanyl is more than 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl and its “structural analogs” are classified as Schedule II drugs by the federal government. There is an extremely high potential for addiction and abuse of fentanyl when not properly used. They have been declared illegal under both federal and state law. The size of a few grains of salt of fentanyl can be a deadly dose to the user. Fentanyl was the drug that claimed the life of music legend Prince and has claimed the lives of countless others. It is an extremely powerful drug that has an incredible ability to hook its users.

When Doctors Overprescribe Painkillers

A new Netflix series titled “The Pharmacist” tells the true story about a Louisiana pharmacist who lost his son who was murdered trying to buy crack on the street. In trying to find his murderer, the pharmacist uncovered a connection as to how and why his son was out on the street looking for a drug like crack. A local doctor was prescribing Oxycontin at the rate of nearly 100 patients per day. The doctor’s clinic was only open at night and the line when outside with people waiting as long as two full days to get their hands on an Oxycontin prescription. People would drive from other states to come see this physician who basically guaranteed that if you paid the money to be seen, $250 (in cash only), you would get a prescription for Oxycontin. There was no actual need for the drug for many patients. This prescription was so valuable that people could sell the pills in the bottle and have enough money for rent, bills, food and have some extra leftover so they could get high themselves. This incredible supply of Oxycontin led to a massive spike in overdose deaths which ultimately led to the doctor losing her license to practice medicine. She later pled guilty to illegally dispensing controlled substances and didn’t appear to serve any jail time. It appears that the doctor herself fell victim to Oxycontin addiction and also was severely injured in an auto accident, causing brain damage. It is a tale that is full of tragedy on all sides. Doctors have an awesome responsibility in prescribing medications to patients, and this is a sad example of what can happen when that responsibility is not honored.

Any Further Questions?

If you have any questions related to this blog or anything else related to doctors prescribing medications illegally, we are happy to answer your questions. If you are a doctor facing a similar accusation, it is imperative to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it is all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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