Posted By: SSF Law Firm Posted In: Personal Injury Posted On: September 16, 2021
Doctors are duty-bound to “do no harm” when treating patients, and this includes prescribing drugs meant to better their health or alleviate the symptoms of legitimate medical conditions. In writing prescriptions, professional codes of conduct and state and federal law require that doctors follow the usual course of professional medical practice—and this is particularly true when prescribing dangerous or addictive drugs, including opioids. One Pennsylvania doctor admitted to falling outside those professional lines when he pleaded guilty on September 23 to the operation of what authorities have dubbed a “massive pill mill”—a mill where the defendant admits prescribing the Schedule II opioids that ultimately led to five fatalities among his patients.
Dr. Raymond Kraynak, 64, of Mt. Carmel, PA, entered a guilty plea to 12 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of a controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes. This guilty admission comes after nearly two weeks of trial testimony. Kraynak entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. If it is accepted, he faces up to 15 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and a potential lifetime supervised release.
Authorities say the scope of Kraynak’s operation was extensive and involved two office locations where he prescribed more opioid medications to patients from 2014 through 2016 than all the doctors at the Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia and the Veterans Medical Center in Pittsburgh combined. From 2014 through 2017, Kraynak doled out around 9.5 million units of narcotics such as hydrocodone, oxycontin, oxycodone, and fentanyl. No doctor in Pennsylvania prescribed more during those years, according to analyses from the DEA.
Evidence shown as trial notes that Kraynak not only prescribed high numbers of narcotic prescriptions. He also did so absent any proper medical documentation of the need for such narcotics, and even without verification of patients’ medical complaints. Moreover, Kraynak did not assess patients for the potential of abuse, and he prescribed scheduled narcotics for patients who had previously undergone treatment for drug overdoses and other red flag conditions that contraindicate the use of narcotics in these patients. Prosecutors call Kraynak’s criminal acts “reprehensible” and note that they resulted in five people dying. They say Kraynak utterly and totally disregarded his ethical obligations as a doctor.
Doctors like Kraynak fuel the ongoing drug problem in Pennsylvania, where 14 people die each day from this plague on society. When doctors violate the standards of care—whether they leave a medical instrument inside a patient during an operation, render a misdiagnosis, fail to diagnose a condition while it’s still treatable, or use no care at all when prescribing potentially lethal narcotic medications—they can be held responsible for the outcome of the care that they provide.
If you or someone you love has been affected by the actions or inactions of a medical professional, you have the right to hold them accountable for any negative outcomes that result. Reach out to Shenderovich, Shenderovich & Fishman, a Pittsburgh, PA personal injury firm that goes the extra mile to advocate for injured clients and their families, helping them get the compensation due to them for their injuries. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 888-988-9467.
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