The New Mexico Attorney General’s office is investigating 36 deaths which may all be the fault of a single psychiatrist.
Investigators say Dr. Edwin Hall has a history of over-prescribing potent medications. Records pulled from his Girard, New Mexico office show that Hall didn’t just push pills on patients—he combined them in dangerous ways, potentially contributing to a series of deadly overdoses.
At least six patients, writes KRQE, died from overdoses. All of them had received prescriptions of Hall within a month of their death.
The casualties prompted the New Mexico Medical Board to deem Dr. Hall a ‘high risk prescriber.’ Their evaluation suggested that Hall didn’t properly screen, evaluate or monitor the patients to whom he’d prescribed prescription medications.
Under the terms of a March agreement, Hall voluntarily surrendered his medical license without admitting any wrongdoing. He agreed to pay several thousand dollars in fees and fines, some of which was meant to reimburse the board for its investigation.
But even after having his license suspended, Hall continued to render some medical services.
Ferguson Law notes that Dr. Hall continued to issue medical marijuana cards even after his permission to practice in New Mexico had been forfeited.
And, starting in 2013, Hall let an ‘unlicensed physician’ named John A. Connell to work out of his Girard office.
Cornell reportedly had his medical license in Georgia revoked for over-prescribing medications. He was also accused of having inappropriate and unprofessional sexual relations with a female patient.
Both incidents, recorded by the state medical board, led to Cornell’s license being retracted.
Nevertheless, Hall took the man into his own practice, profiting off the physician’s benefits and billing.
With Connell under his purview, Hall billed Medicaid for the illegitimate doctor’s services.
Together, the two men prescribed drugs which included, according to Ferguson Law: Clonazepam, Temazepam, Zolpidem, Lithium, Saphris, Divalproex, oxcarbazepine, Fluconazole, metronidazole, Lamotrigine, Quetiapine, Ziprasidone and Belsorma.
Many of the listed medications, including Quetiapine and Ziprasidone, are used to treat mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Others, like Fluconazole and Belsorma, are comparably innocuous, used to cure fungal infections or fight insomnia, respectively.
The attorney general’s investigation is spurred in part by New Mexico’s efforts to combat opioids and opioid addiction. The government said it couldn’t comment on the case or its particulars, considering that it’s still underway.