Attorney General Josh Shapiro has made it the new “trendy” thing to go after Doctors. We are not even referring to Doctors running “pill mills”, we are referring to ALL DOCTORS. There is an old saying: “The difference between a doctor and a lawyer, is that a Doctor has the ability to play God, and a lawyer thinks he is God.”
How true this aphorism is in this particular tragic case of bullying!
It infuriates me when doctors, during this opioid epidemic, are being over-charged left and right to the point that they are now afraid to practice medicine. Attorneys have regulated physicians to the point that they are no longer comfortable in using their medical judgement to prescribe opioids to patients, sometimes even to patients (dying of cancer, etc) who really need these drugs, and rely on them to make their last years a better quality of life.
Now when a patient dies of a opioid overdose, or misuses prescription drugs, suddenly the doctor is charged and jailed. There is no personal responsibility leaving the patient to blame, and there is very little accountability to these massive drug manufacturers making the pills.
In 2016 Governor Tom Wolf, partnering with a number of republicans, began combatting this. They started partnering with doctors to come up with solutions to solve the opioid epidemic. Instead of ostracizing the medical community by playing the blame game, they got the physicians on board in a collaborative way. If addiction is a medical condition, then physicians that should be sitting on these boards and participating in making legal decisions. Clearly the legal community has been trying for decades to solve this escalating opioid epidemic using jails, fines, probation and a variety of other very expensive tactics, and they have utterly failed. So let’s all but FIRE the legal community, and put physicians in a place of leadership to fix the rising number of opioid deaths.
Part of putting physicians in positions of leadership within the criminal courts, is not congruent with a power hungry and overzealous legal community targeting physicians unreasonably with frivolous and unfounded (not legally based) criminal charges, which is specifically the case of what happened to Centre County’s well-loved “Dr. Paul” – who was hit with two felonies after Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s ridiculous lack of judgement and overzealous ambition to go “get Doctor busts.” The over-regulation and scapegoating of physicians to blame them for the opioid problem is clearly a transparent way of the criminal justice system to pass the blame.
So when people like Josh Shapiro start going after humble hometown primary care/family doctors in small walk-in clinics, who are making an honest living, and attempting to help patients by practicing medicine using their expertise? Well, it makes my blood boil. Shapiro has a thing for targeting doctors – perhaps he is threatened by them.
Recently this year in State College, Physician Dr. Geronami Paul Kattupalli, 40, was charged with TWO FELONIES he accrued through the practice of medicine. He was NOT indicted for prescribing opioids or anything related to prescriptions. He was charged with a ridiculous “failure to provide radiation protection to protection” and “improper use of a monitoring device.” There were no victims for these felonies that Shapiro leveraged, and there were no deaths or injuries. Essentially this was a victimless crime.
The small-town physician hired an individual to assist him with operating a computer in his small office. While the affidavit of probable cause notates that all radiographs were conducted in the presence of the physician, and the employee was present only to operate the computer, the Attorney General said that this employee was uncertified to operate an x-ray machine on 15 patients.
He got charged with two felonies for giving patients the x-rays they needed and asked for. Does that sound fair to you??
Essentially, the employee was operating a computer under the supervision of a physician who was conducting the radiological exams himself. His assistant was doing nothing but operating a computer mouse. She was not rendering medical opinions, she was not operating unsupervised, she was not operating as a nurse or any certified technician. This boiled down to the doctor hiring someone to operate his computer mouse. As a result Dr. Paul was charged with two felonies, and is possibly facing a suspension of his license by the medical board. These consequences are harsh and unreasonable, particularly as this state has REAL problems going on.
Kattupalli told investigators that he “has always had at least two to three ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) certified radiology technicians on staff to take X-rays at Dr. Paul’s clinic.” He also maintains proof of certification on site for current and past radiology technicians, the affidavit said.
It is clearly a waste of tax dollars, time and effort to prosecute this 40 year old doctor with a walk-in clinic. I find it deeply ironic that District Attorney Bill Higgins could use the powers of his office to extort sex from criminal defendants in exchange for legal favors, and this attorney was charged with NO FELONIES by Josh Shapiro’s office. Yet the legal community is beginning to target these small medical private practices with some of the harshest penalties for the smallest infractions.
Dr. Paul’s Attorney Phil Masorti gave a statement: “Supervising his medical assistant who is not an x-ray technician to snap an x-ray while a patient is waiting to be treated is not unreasonable, nor is it inappropriate and I don’t think it’s illegal” Philip Masorti, Kattupalli’s attorney, said. “There is no public health concern and the patients who got x-rayed, who needed to be x-rayed, didn’t suffer more radiation admitted in their body and it’s not like the safety procedures were ignored. He supervised it directly.” CITATION
This bullying behavior by Shapiro’s office on this physician is something that should not and cannot be tolerated. We specifically need medical doctors on board with this increasingly escalating opioid epidemic. We need medical doctors sitting on diversionary boards and participating as leaders in the criminal justice process for alcohol and drug offenses, because clearly jail is not working. We need to stop attacking doctors for technicalities when there are larger issues at play.
Shapiro has arrested more doctors across the state than the past four Attorney Generals in office. Targeting the medical community is not going to “fix” this opioid problem, neither is jail. Medical expertise by qualified medical doctors is the solution to fix the opioid epidemic. Alienating physicians through over-regulation and bullshit criminal charges over technical infractions (which should be regulated by the medical licensure board) is just counter productive. Charging physicians criminally for exercising their medical expertise and rendering medical treatment is truly undermining.
I’d like to see Josh Shapiro leave the medical community alone, and focus more on his attorney peer group who is engaging in unfettered corruption that is going on in plain sight.
I’m sickened by these charges, and you should be too.
It is important to note that Dr. Paul has never been charged or accused of anything involving prescription medications. He has helped countless patients in his small family practice and never been accused of any sort of malpractice prior to this ridiculous case.
Dr. Paul’s sentencing is coming up shortly.
Join with Governor Wolf, let’s get some of these Doctors in leadership positions to combat the opioid epidemic. Attorney Josh Shapiro clearly doesn’t know his place.
DOCTORS NOT JAILS!