NY physician charged with second-degree murder for opioid prescribing practices
New York Physician George Blatti, MD, is facing second-degree murder charges after his prescribing practices allegedly led to the deaths of five patients. According to Nassau County District Attorney, Madeline Singas, Blatti is charged with five counts of second-degree murder and 11 counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree. Under New York State law, Blatti’s second-degree murder charges stem from an alleged depraved indifference to human life, and prosecutors believe he is the first physician to face such charges in New York.
A 2018 investigation into opioid overdoses and deaths ultimately revealed that Blatti prescribed an inordinate amount of prescriptions to certain people. According to the grand jury indictment, Blatti met with patients in his car and prescribed medications without a medical examination or history. Additionally, he allegedly prescribed opioids to individuals he had not met with, upon his patients’ request. The indictment also charges that Blatti ignored documented overdoses and prescription drug abuse in patient records as well as warnings from pharmacies and insurers about his prescribing practices. He was also aware that several of his patients had died of overdoses and disregarded pleas from patients’ families to stop prescribing opioids to the patients struggling with addiction.
“This doctor’s prescription pad was as lethal as any murder weapon,” said Singas. “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 received his medical license in 1976. In 2019, he voluntarily surrendered his license to authorities. If convicted, Blatti faces up to 25 years in prison.
Source: Nassau County District Attorney