A true-to-life set up

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A true-to-life set up

We have often come across a case in which someone says that he has been set up, or that the problems he is in are not his fault. Usually, we were being lied to. In this case, a man went in for skin cancer surgery on his arm by a well-known doctor. The operation was botched, and the patient was severely burned. The patient required a great deal of pain medicine, and the pain medicine prescribed (which could be loosely described as a combination of pain medication and uppers) left the patient functional, but wholly irrational and paranoid. The patient was going to sue for the pain and suffering when he was arrested at work for possession of a Class 3 substance without a prescription.

The doctor had been supplying the medication directly from his office and not as a prescription. Once he heard that the patient was going to sue for malpractice, the doctor upped the amount of drugs he gave him, and had several people call the police with tips on a man selling dangerous narcotics from his job at a construction site trailer. When the police arrived they found all of the medication from the doctor’s office — and no prescription forms or labels showing he was medically entitled to the substances he had in his possession. Further, the quantity of drugs he had in his possession was so large that it was deduced that it could only be for resale, and not personal use. Although wrong, this was not an unreasonable action by the police. Indeed, based on the information they had, it was the correct action. The man was successfully set up by his doctor so the doctor wouldn’t get sued. This was a tough case. The patient was in great pain, and in jail. He also began withdrawal while in prison (nice doctor), which added to the user/dealer profile the police had constructed.

We were in contact with the police within a few hours of our client’s being arrested. We did, and still do, all of this man’s due diligence on other firms and projects. We asked the police to show us the evidence they had confiscated. Though they were a bit hesitant, they did show us some of the contraband. We asked them to make a copy of all of the sample packets and the syringe packets they confiscated, specifically to show the number encoding on the side of the packets.

After some heated calls and long conversation we tied all of the serial numbers on the sides of the packets and the syringes to the doctor who set up our client. They were all part of a large shipment that was supposedly stolen from this doctor in the last year. Our client just happened to be treated by the same doctor who had the narcotics stolen — the same ones that ended up in our client’s office.

As a consequence of this investigation, we learned that this behavior was consistent with this doctor’s past behavior. Police departments are small populations. Narcotics officers are an even smaller population within the police departments. When this case was presented at a regional conference of narcotics officers, four alarms went off. Other people had used as a defense that the medicine was from their doctor, and not from the street. All of them were awaiting trial in different cities. All were using this same doctor! We do not know what the ending of the whole story will be. The client is well, out of jail, and under another doctor’s care. The doctor who set up his patients carried no malpractice insurance, has no assets in his name, and is still continuing to practice medicine.

As a note: A background check on this doctor would have shown four medical malpractice cases against the doctor. The state has never even reviewed his license, let alone pulled it.

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