ERIE DOCTOR COULD FACE UP TO 44 YEARS IN PRISON FOR OVERDOSING PATIENTS



Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dr. David Klees was sentenced Tuesday to 13 and a half to 44 years in jail, for over-prescribing painkillers to his patients. The healer turned into a dealer. That's how prosecutors described Dr. David Klees in late 1999 and early 2000.

It was a mighty fall from one of society's most honored professions. 46-year-old Dr. David Klees was found guilty of recklessly prescribing powerful painkillers for even the slightest aches.

He's charged on 12 counts in all including, risking lives, creating addicts and trading drugs for favors.

"The plan was simply to prescribe prescriptions, and to throw very heavy prescriptions very early in the game, and in consequence," said Doug Wright, Deputy Attorney General. "He did this without any addiciton liability or worse, and somebody with a ligitimate pain complaint could find themselves addicted real quick."

Defense attorneys did not comment, but clearly, they were not pleased at how severe the sentence was...proof that prosecutors are ready to treat drug dealers seriously, even the ones who went to medical school.

46-year-old Doctor David Klees is now behind bars, after being charged with involuntary manslaughter of a patient, and with writing illegal prescriptions for a number of drugs...including the addictive pain killer Oxycontin. Klees operated a medical practice at 217 West 11th Street until its closing in September 2003. Dr. Klees was arraigned Thursday morning in Erie Central Court.

Klees is charged with the death of Sherry Ziroli, who died May 17th 2003. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook ruled she had died of combined drug toxicity. The coroner also determined that the prescription pain killers hydrocodone and fentanyl were found in Ziroli's blood in lethal amounts. Investigators also found a number of pill bottles at Ziroli's home, all prescribed by Dr. Klees.

But, Ziroli wasn't Dr. Klees' only victim. Investigators found a number of his other patients were also addicted to prescription pain killer, all while under his care. In some cases, Dr. Klees didn't perform any diagnostic test before prescribing the drugs and increased patients dosages without their knowledge. That's when a local pharmacist became involved. The pharmacist told investigators that based on what Klees had prescribed a certain patient, if the patient takes all the drugs, he could die. On September 9th, investigators issued a search warrant and seized 11 patient files, including one of an undercover agent. Dr. Klees is charged with involuntary manslaughter which carries a maximum of five years in prison and a 10-thousand dollar fine. Also, 12 counts of illegally prescribing prescription drugs, each carrying a maximum of 15 years and a 250-thousand dollar fine.






Thursday, January 08, 2004
Local Doctor Arrested And Jailed

An Erie doctor has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and illegally prescribing prescription drugs. Dr. David Klees was arrested at his home on West 10th Street Thursday morning.

The arrest ended an investigation where a dozen former patients of the doctor testified about obtaining prescription drugs, including oxycontin. In many cases, the drugs were reportedly obtained without the proper exams or diagnosis.

The involuntary manslaughter charge stems from the May 17th death of Sherry Zeroli, a patient of Dr. Klees

A grand jury also heard from numerous patients who became addicted to prescription pain killers while under the care of Dr. Klees.

Klees was arraigned Thursday morning, and is currently being held in the Erie County Prison.






Friday, January 09, 2004
Contact Information To Recover Medical Files From Dr. David Klees

Since the arrest of Doctor David Klees Thursday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and illegally prescribing drugs, many of his patients have complained they cannot get access to their patient files.

Here is a toll free number for you to call. It will connect you with the state Bureau of Professional Responsibilities. The number is 1-800-822-2113. Or you can log onto www.dos.state.pa.us/bpoa.






Monday, January 12, 2004
Dr. Klees Seeks Bond Reduction

David Klees, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter and charged with illegally prescribing drugs to patients, will remain behind bars for the time being.

According to the District Attorney`s office, Klees` lawyer will file a motion requesting the bond for his client be reduced.

His bond is currently set at $50,000. Klees will reportedly ask that the cash amount Klees would have to post be reduced to $5,000. A date for the hearing will likely be set on Tuesday.






Thursday, January 22, 2004
Bond Reduction For Dr. Klees

An Erie doctor accused of illegally prescribing drugs to patients is no longer behind bars.

Dr. David Klees faced a judge Thursday morning in Erie County court, who reduced Dr. Kleesí bond from $50,000 cash to 1-% of $25,0000. Klees then posted the bond and was released.

As a condition of his relief, Klees was required to surrender the license that allows him to prescribe controlled substances.

Klees is charged with 12 counts of illegally prescribing medications to patients without the proper diagnosis. He is also charged with involuntary manslaughter of Sherry Zeroli in connection with medication he prescribed for her.






Friday, February 20, 2004
Medical Records Available for Patients of Dr. Klees

Beginning next week, former patients of Doctor David Klees will be able to pick up their medical records.

Last September, Dr. Klees closed his office. Since then, former patients have had a difficult time getting their medical records.

At the time, Dr. Klees said a landlord dispute caused his office to close, but while Klees was moving, the Attorney Generalís office was conducting an investigation into the doctor.

Since then, Klees has been accused of involuntary manslaughter and illegally prescribing prescription drugs. He is currently free on bond.

If you were a patient of Klees, you can pick up your medical records starting Monday at the former Metro Hospital on the corner of West 11th Street and Myrtle.






Friday, October 01, 2004
KLEES HIRES NEW ATTORNEY

A local doctor accused of illegally providing prescription drugs to patients now has hired another defense attorney. Attorney John Mir will now be assisted by public defender Dan Brabender in the case against Doctor David Klees.

Klees is facing several charges including involuntary manslaughter after allegely illegally prescribing painkillers to a patient. The attorney generalís investigation into Klees forced the doctor to close his practice last September.

Earlier this year - a judge ordered Klees to surrender the license that allows him to prescribe controlled substances. However, he is still able to work as doctor.






Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Dr Klees Trial Set to Begin

A JURY HAS BEEN SELECTED AND OPENING ARGUMENTS ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON FRIDAY IN THE TRIAL OF DOCTOR DAVID KLEES. HE`S THE LOCAL PHYSICIAN ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY PROVIDING HIS PATIENTS WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

SEVERAL CHARGES, INCLUDING INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST HIM.

TESTIMONY BEFORE A GRAND JURY REVEALED KLEES WAS WRITING PRESCRIPTIONS FOR PAINKILLERS WITHOUT FIRST ORDERING TESTS OR SUGGESTING ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF PAIN MANAGEMENT.

THE INVESTIGATION ULTIMATELY FORCED KLEES TO CLOSE HIS PRACTICE LAST SEPTEMBER






Friday, November 12, 2004
Dr Klees Trial Begins

OPENING ARGUMENTS AND PROSECUTION TESTIMONY BEGAN TODAY IN THE TRIAL OF DOCTOR DAVID KLEES. SEVERAL CHARGES, INCLUDING INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST HIM.

HE`S THE LOCAL PHYSICIAN ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY PROVIDING HIS PATIENTS WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. TESTIMONY BEFORE A GRAND JURY REVEALED KLEES WAS WRITING PRESCRIPTIONS FOR PAINKILLERS WITHOUT FIRST ORDERING TESTS OR SUGGESTING ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF PAIN MANAGEMENT. THE INVESTIGATION ULTIMATELY FORCED KLEES TO CLOSE HIS PRACTICE LAST SEPTEMBER.






Friday, November 19, 2004
Jury Convicts Doctor on Drug Charges

The doctor accused of illegally prescribing painkillers was found guilty on felony drug charges. The prosecution successfully argued that Doctor David Klees prescribed the painkillers to twelve-patients who didn`t need the drugs.

Two of those patients died of overdoses from the painkillers prescribed by Dr Klees. The defense argued that the medicine was appropriate for the patient`s conditions.

The prosecution asked that the jury didn`t consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaugter so they could focus on the felony charges of drug law violations.

The judge increased Kleesís bond by twenty-five thousand dollars. Sentencing is set for January.









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