Yelp reviews help me decide which restaurants to eat at. The website is not something I consult regarding my medical care. Demonstrating why, a highly rated doctor in Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with killing nine of his patients over the last three years.
After a long investigation, local authorities closed the practice of Larry Miller. Patients visiting Miller’s office were greeted with the sign:
To all my dear patients,
It is with utmost sadness that I let you know that the office is now closed indefinitely. Please know that my concern and care for you all, as always, will never end and you will be forever in my heart.
In a region rife with opioid addiction, Miller essentially ran a dispensary for drugs addicts. According to the criminal complaint, a confidential informant contacted the police in 2016 about Miller prescribing narcotics to drug addicts. After a little digging around, according to the court documents, investigators discovered a “large number of patients who appeared to be overprescribed opioid pain medications…. In addition to the overprescribing opioid pain medication, we further found many patients were being prescribed a benzodiazepine in combination with an opioid pain medication.”
The criminal complaint goes on to detail a long list of schedule 2 drugs that Miller was overprescribing and prescribing in a potentially lethal combination with other drugs. It also reveals that some of his patients were turning around and selling the drugs on the street. Patients of Miller were stopped and interviewed, some of them with track marks on their arms, obvious drug addicts. It became apparent to investigators that drug addicts were aware of Miller’s practice and were utilizing him as a resource for obtaining drugs.
Speaking to Patch, Miller’s lawyer, Frank Genovese, said:
Miller recognizes what he did was wrong and plans to enter a guilty plea. Genovese said Miller never intended to harm people, but rather help them. ‘He initially thought he could help his patients,’ Genovese said, adding that things eventually spiraled out of control for the doctor.
As the investigation uncovered, Miller didn’t just slip up a couple of times. This was a systematic operation that purposefully ignored the law. Patch explains:
Prosecutors say he was not adhering to the requirements of the prescription drug-monitoring program, which went into effect in January 2017. The system allows doctors to check and see if patients are receiving drugs from other doctors that could harmfully interact with each other. Checking the prescription drug-monitoring program before writing a script for an opioid is required by law, however, prosecutors say Miller had not queried the database a single time in more than a year, but continued to provide opioids to his patients.
Nine people have died because of Miller’s actions. His claimed motive of wanting to help people is as laughable as it is irrelevant to the criminal proceedings. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.