In Wichita, Kansas a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reverse the convictions of a physician and his wife, who were sent to prison in 2010.
Until their arrests Stephen J. Schneider, now 58, and his wife Linda, age 54, owned and operated the Schneider Medical Clinic in the city of Haysville. Jurors found the pair guilty on numerous felony counts, including Illegal Prescribing of Narcotics; Conspiracy; Money-laundering and Fraud.
Investigators believe the doctor and his wife are responsible for more than five dozen deaths of patients who overdosed on narcotics which ought never have been sold.
During the trial, the jury deliberated a full week to review evidence that the Schneider’s routine of doling out controlled substances constituted little more than a “pill mill” operation, which killed 68 people, and sent more than 100 overdoses to area hospitals.
The prosecution told the court that the Schneiders had refused to change their careless drug-dealing practices, even after they knew their patients were dying.
At the appeals hearing this week, the panel of three judges sided with the prosecution, that at the beginning of their trial two years ago, the Schneiders both agreed to waive any right to appeal a guilty verdict.
Schneider, MD was sentenced to 30 years in prison. His wife Linda was sentenced to 33 years.
* * *
Before he went into business as a criminal drug-runner, Stephen J. Schneider attended the Des Moines University Health Science College in Iowa. He graduated in 1987. We find it interesting that as a young man Schneider chose to become a Doctor of Osteopathy. Traditionally, a D.O. takes a “whole person” approach to medicine. This holistic perspective regards the human body as integrated, and tends to view drugs as a last resort.
But the lure of wealth can cause even well-meaning men and women to turn their backs on what they once considered a sacred life path.
And nowhere in society is this tendency more prevalent than at the highest levels of health care.
This may turn out to be the ugliest reality of our era.
# # #