Pennsylvania Pain Doctor Acquitted

Yesterday a jury acquiited Erie, Pennsylvania, doctor Paul Heberle of overprescribing narcotics, rejecting 14 drug charges and 12 Medicaid fraud charges brought by Attorney General Tom Corbett. (Two other charges were dropped at the beginning of the trial.) The state's investigation of Heberle began after one of his patients died of a fentanyl overdose; according to Heberle, the patient tore open a timed-release patch and swallowed a three-day supply all at once. Corbett's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation also said it had received complaints from pharmacists who thought Heberle was too generous with painkillers. According to A.P., jurors interviewed after the verdict said they concluded that "Heberle did the best he could treating patients that other doctors didn't want." The Pain Relief Network, which played a key role in Heberle's defense, reports that half a dozen of his pain patients attempted suicide after the state disrupted his practice, one of them successfully.

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  • Timothy||

    Better to die painfully on your feet than live with a mild narcotic dependency!

  • ||

    Tim,

    To each their own.

    As for the case, glad to see he got off, and I hope the AG get's canned come next election.

  • Larry A||

    <sarcasm> Yeah, but the acquittal sent the wrong message in the War on Drugs. Screw the patients in agony.</sarcasm>

  • ||

    IN our world you are suppose to live in horrible pain because being an "addict" is much worse than anything, including cancer and arthritus. The painkiller prosecutions drive me over the edge. It would be nice if the AG got canned, but you know it will never happen.

  • ||

    Even though he's been acquitted, his persecution prosecution has a chilling effect on the effective management of chronic pain.

    I hope that Corbett never has an occasion to suffer the sort of pain that Heberle was treating... but there might be some measure of justice if he were unable to get the treatment he needed to manage it.

  • ||

    "I hope that Corbett never has an occasion to suffer the sort of pain that Heberle was treating....." I hope he does... and Dr. Heberle isn't around to help him relieve it!

  • Dave W.||

    At least this was a state prosecution, rather than a federal one.

  • Warren||

    I'm glad the jury acquitted him. I doubt it will slow down the drug warriors much. The facts are sad, and this is an issue I care about.

    Since I'm not up to what is clearly called for, please insert snarky comment here.

  • ||

    half a dozen of his pain patients attempted suicide after the state disrupted his practice, one of them successfully.

    This makes me want to chain myself to a building somewhere or something. I hate this. Fuck that shit. God dammit.

  • ||

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Ellie.

    I can't read this stuff at work.

  • ||

    But don't you see, Ellie, they had to be saved from the ravages of drugs.

    I hate these assholes more than I think anything can be hated by anyone.

    Glad to know I'm not totally alone.

  • ||

    Well, this is one ray of light, at least...

  • ||

    I hope he gets canned as well. Not fired, but loaded into a waste disposal can, covered in molten lead, and dropped into the Marianas trench.

    Or is that too good for him?

  • ||

    half a dozen of his pain patients attempted suicide after the state disrupted his practice, one of them successfully.

    Couldn't some lawyer try suing the state on behalf of the dead person's family? For--I dunno--practicing medicine without a license, at the very least? There must be some doctrine making it illegal to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

  • M. Simon||

    We are fighting a phantom menace:

    Is Addiction Real?

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