By: Admin_Mike25 Sep 2012
An Iowa doctor who supplied Slipknot bassist Paul Gray with prescription painkillers has been charged with eight count of manslaughter.
Gray, who struggled for years with addiction, was found dead in a hotel room in Des Moines in May 2010. The 38-year-old musician was the victim of an overdose of morphine and fentanyl (a morphine substitute). Paul Gray founded Slipknot in 1995; the heavy metal band was known for wearing masks while performing.
Daniel Baldi, a 50-year-old doctor who helped run a pain clinic in Des Moines, could face up to 16 years in prison if found guilty. He began writing high dosage prescriptions for narcotic painkillers for Gray in 2005, despite knowing that the musician was struggling with drug addiction. The doctor pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charges related to the overdose death of Gray and seven other patients.
Baldi's defense lawyer expressed surprise that his client was criminally charged in the overdose deaths of patients for whom he over-prescribed dangerous drugs, despite that fact that the doctor has been sued three times for wrongful death. According to the Des Moines Register, the three deaths that were the subject of lawsuits are among the eight named in the criminal complaint.
Administrative charges have also been filed against Baldi by the Iowa Board of Medicine. The board alleges that the doctor provide large quantities of painkillers and other medications without properly examining the medical conditions of patients. Baldi's medical license has been suspended and the pain clinic has been closed.
Baldi is not the first doctor to be charged in the overdose deaths of patients. With prescription drug abuse reaching epidemic levels in many parts of the country, law enforcement authorities are holding greedy doctors responsible for tragedies that result from their irresponsible drug distribution. Early this year, a doctor in Rowland Heights, California was charged in the death of three patients. Hsiu-Ying Tseng had been under investigation for several years due to the high volume of prescriptions she wrote for OxyContin and other narcotic drugs. In addition to the three deaths she was charged with, all young men in their 20s, Tseng has been linked to five other drug overdose deaths.
In Oklahoma, Dr. Mickey Ray Tyrell was arrested in July in connection with the overdose death of a nursing instructor. Tyrell wrote prescriptions for more than 800 doses of Demerol for 35-year-old Tammy Daniels over a three-month period leading up to her death in 2009. Tyrell was also accused of prescribing OxyContin for Daniels during the same period.