New York physician charged with murder; prescription practices linked to 5 deaths

George Blatti, MD, 75, a physician in Nassau County, N.Y., was charged March 4 with second-degree murder for his prescription practices, which allegedly led to five patient deaths, the Nassau County District Attorney said in a news release

Dr. Blatti allegedly ignored repeated warnings from pharmacists and payers and prescribed "massive" amounts of opioids and other drugs to his patients. He was also charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree. 

If convicted of the top charge, Dr. Blatti faces up to 25 years to life in prison, the district attorney said. 

"This doctor's prescription pad was as lethal as any murder weapon," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in the news release. 

Dr. Blatti was a general practitioner who received his license to practice medicine in 1976. Prosecutors said they believe he is the first physician to be charged in New York state with murder in the second degree under the theory of depraved indifference to human life. 

An investigation began in August 2018 when law enforcement officials found some of Dr. Blatti's patients had an inordinate number of prescriptions for opioids, the district attorney's office said. 

The indictment alleges he saw patients in his car and prescribed medication with no medical history review or patient exams. He also allegedly prescribed opioid painkillers to people he had never met or spoken to. 

Dr. Blatti voluntarily surrendered his medical license to New York authorities in 2019. 

"In my nearly 30-year career as a prosecutor, I have never seen a case of such outrageous disregard for human life by a physician," Ms. Singas said. "This doctor allegedly ignored warning after warning from visibly addicted patients and continued to prescribe the dangerous drugs that cost his patients their lives. I am grateful to the brave family members of these victims who provided invaluable assistance to our investigation, and my heart goes out to them as they continue to grieve the loss of their loved ones."

Read the full news release here

More articles on opioids:
Cincinnati surgeon sentenced to 3 years in prison for illegal opioid distribution
2 physicians charged in opioid scheme tied to 6 overdose deaths
9 stats that show opioid misuse is climbing during the pandemic

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