The good doctor gets 25 years in prison; office manager/wife gets 4 years.
In the beach city of Tampa Florida we now know that month after month, year after year, an elderly physician would routinely scribble out narcotic prescriptions to drug addicts. Quite a number of them overdosed and at least 16 of them died. And so finally, when Doctor Edward Neil Feldman, age 76, was handcuffed and taken away, he tried to defend his behavior in court last February, by arguing that a whole lot of people had “fooled” him to get the drugs.
Because after being a physician for half a century and physically assessing a hundred thousand patients – well, he’d never quite figured out how to tell which ones were faking their pain, and which ones were actually hurting.
The jury said ‘fraid not to his innocent grandpa act: they convicted him of Illegal Narcotic Trafficking – the result of which was directly tied to 3 dead people: Joey Mayes, age 24, Ricky Gonzalez, 42, and Shannon Wren, 42. The 13 other overdose deaths could not be firmly blamed on Feldman the Fooled. For one thing, many addicts have learned to get drugs from more than one doctor.
“The government had 16 dead people to choose from in this case. You don’t get to say you’re blind when you’ve got your head in the sand. You don’t get to say that you’ve been fooled when you refuse to take the blinders off.” (Federal Prosecutor Shauna Hale in her closing argument)
The doctor’s wife, Kim Xuan Feldman, age 66, was found guilty too, along with her husband, on 5 counts in a $5,000,000 drug and cash conspiracy. But only the MD was charged and convicted for the deaths. In each case, the prosecution was able to prove that he prescribed heavy pain medication for no true medical reason, and beyond the scope of accepted treatment. And not documenting treatments and prescriptions in patient charts for decades? Well that was just stupid arrogance.
Like nearly all other of the quarter-million criminal physicians since 1950, freaky Feldman most likely figured he would never get caught.
After all, this was the government’s second effort at trying this case. The first time last November ended in a mistrial.
The Tampa Bay Times reported last year that pill bottles bearing Feldman’s name were found at many scenes where people had popped the doc’s pills – then rolled over and died.
The Florida Department of Health, which oversees the Board of Medicine, reports they have multiple cases pending against his license – cases put on hold until the felony charges were resolved. The doctor was already under order to not treat patients.
During the trial, the prosecution argued that Feldman’s prescriptions had far more to do with his greed than patients faking pain. The prosecutor said the MD handed out addictive drugs for years like they were candy, and ignored signs that clearly showed drug abuse.
Feldman’s defense lawyer told jurors that the doctor had been unfairly targeted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and was guilty of nothing more than incomplete recordkeeping.
Note to doc: remember your 10 years of medical training? Remember that part about all those patient chart notes you took?
As so often happens with these lab coat loons, this wasn’t Edward Feldman’s first Felony conviction. In 2004 he was found guilty of taking illegal cash payments from an MRI clinic. Yes, he was paid by the MRI people to send patients for testing – all paid for by insurance companies, of course – most of whom were in no need of an MRI exam at all. This resulted in a brief suspension of his medical license and probation in lieu of jail time. He was stealing insurance money but, hey! He’s a doctor. It wasn’t like he was – you know – a common criminal.
Slaps on the degreed wrists for felony-level garbage behavior. As a society, how would you say that’s working out for us so far?