Doctor met with patients in parking lots, prescribing deadly amounts of opioids.
Long Island, New York doctor George Blatti, 75, is accused of writing prescriptions for large amounts of opioids, leading patient overdoses. Blatti met with his patients at food chains, abandoned storefronts, and in parking lots, and has been indicted on second-degree murder charges after several patients died of opioid overdoses in his doctor’s care in the two-year span from 2016 to 2018. The one-time physician was arraigned in Nassau County Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 30. Blatti faces up to 25 years to life if he is convicted on the second-degree murder charges under “depraved indifference to human life.”
“This doctor’s prescription pad was as lethal as any murder weapon,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “We allege that Dr. Blatti showed depraved indifference to human life, total disregarded for the law, his ethical obligations, and the pleas of his patients and their family members when he prescribed massive quantities of dangerous drugs to victims in the throes of addiction, ultimately killing five patients who entrusted him with their care. As we continue to battle the epidemic of opioid abuse that has ravaged our communities, this prosecution sends a strong message to any doctor seeking to profit from vulnerable patients’ addiction: we will hold you accountable to the greatest extent the law allows.”
Blatti was previously arrested in 2019 on charges that included criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, forgery and reckless endangerment. The original indictment alleges “Blatti met customers at his Franklin Square office through 2019, and after he lost access to that space, saw patients in his car, prescribing medications with no examination from the parking lots of the Rockville Centre hotel where he lived and a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.” It continues, “Neither Radio Shack nor Dunkin’ Donuts are alleged to have known or participated in any of the alleged wrongdoing by the defendant.”
Prosecutors said the patient overdoses were do to sketchy prescribing practices and among those who died in Blatti’s care were a 31-year-old volunteer firefighter with opioid use disorder, a 50-year-old woman who suffered from chronic neck pain and a 44-year-old electrician with back pain, asthma and COPD. “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,” Singas added.
“This is a tragic story of lives lost at the hands of someone entrusted to save lives,” Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said. “This defendant’s alleged conduct was unconscionable. Our fight against the opioid epidemic continues, as evident in this case. Together with our law enforcement partners we will continue to pursue those who are responsible for fueling opioid abuse and addiction and hold them accountable. This prosecution is one of the many examples of our tremendous partnership with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, and this investigation should serve as a warning to those who have been charged with public trust and the great responsibility of prescribing controlled substances.”