On Delivering One’s Wife
to Federal Prison
Dear pain management advocates of the listServs of the Pain Relief Network (PRN), National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain (NFTP), and Our Chronic Pain Mission (OCPM),
Deborah is now in custody of the BOP, Alderson WV. She had to report on June 5, 2006.
This is a black day for us here.
I am very thankful of your indulgence in allowing me to lurk on this site, and would be very appreciative of the opportunity to expound on my personal feelings concerning the war on Physicians and Pain Patients.
Yesterday on June 5th, at high-noon, I had to deliver up my wife, Dr. Deborah Bordeaux, to the BOP authorities at FPC Alderson, WV. Had it not been for the extremely supportive and heroic measures of Siobhan and PRN, as well as her Attorneys, it would have no doubt been sooner and for a longer period of time, although 2 years will seem as eternity.
It is not often that I open my feelings, but the overwhelming gratitude and affection I feel for you cannot be held silent. I am painfully aware of the sacrifices you have made to afford us some comfort in our time of need. It will never be forgotten, and will eternally remain in our hearts.
To ensure aid to you friends and colleagues as you have, is to ensure a boundary of right, which enables us to render to every person without distinction his just due. This is a virtue that is not only consistent with Divine and human law, but is the very cement and support of a civil society.
Love, in a great measure constitutes people that are real and good. These principles have served to forge our societies from the days of the wisdoms of King Solomon, to the foundations of modern man, guided by fortitude, temperance, prudence, and mercy. Fortitude for a noble and steady purpose of mind, Temperance to practice due restraint, Prudence to dictate our reason, and Mercy to give, so that from our Creator, mercy we might receive. Truth is a Divine attribute, and being true to your friends and colleagues will surely help pave the way for you, when you enter that house not made with human hands, eternal in the Heavens.
We will stay in touch, wherever life may lead us, and if ever we can be of help to you or your loved ones, all that we have will be at your disposal. Hopefully someday we can repay you for your support and kindness, and our prayers will be of your health and happiness.
Yesterday was the darkest day of my life, as I sacrificed my wife, and she her freedom, a noble and brave soul and fine Physician, to this crazy war on Physicians and Pain Patients. Siobhan, keep the good fight, and know we love you!
May you all be blessed, and may peace be with you forever,
-- Ed Swaim (Dr. Deborah Bordeaux' husband), 2006-06-06
Here is the address to write to Dr. Deborah Bordeaux while she resides at
Federal Prison Camp Alderson (until June, 2008):
Dr. Deborah S. Bordeaux 99069-071
FPC Alderson Federal Prison Camp
Glen Ray Road, Box A
Alderson, West Virginia 24910
Convictions Stay for Pain Clinic
Feb 2006 - A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of three former doctors for their role in a drug fraud scheme carried out at a now-closed Myrtle Beach drug clinic several years ago.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled Thursday that the punishment meted out to defendants Michael Jackson, Ricardo Alerre and Deborah Bordeaux was unfair and remanded it to the federal court in Florence for re-sentencing.
The doctors were all convicted of multiple counts of drug distribution, drug conspiracy and money-laundering conspiracy while practicing at the Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center.
The trio had sought to overturn their convictions on the grounds that their lawyers were incompetent and engaged in prejudicial misconduct.
They also argued that the evidence presented at their trial two years ago did not support their convictions on money laundering.
In their decision, the judges ruled the defendants "do not point to any specific trial error that prejudiced them" or anything that was "improperly introduced" in their contention that they were tried for civil malpractice and not criminal distribution of drugs.
"They are unable to show that a substandard performance by their lawyers conclusively appears from the record, and they have also failed to demonstrate that the prosecutors engaged in any improper conduct relating to the standard of proof or their use of evidence," according to the court document.
The defendants were charged with and convicted of conspiring to commit money laundering, the ruling says.
Siobhan Reynolds of Pain Relief Network, who has followed the case closely, blasted this latest court decision, adding that it has a "horrible, chilling effect on the treatment" of using drugs in South Carolina.
Reynolds, president of the New York-based group that advocates making pain care available to Americans, assailed the government for attempting to take control of medicine by using federal criminal statutes.
South Carolina Pain Doctors Lose Appeal
But Get New Sentencing Hearings
Three South Carolina physicians convicted of drug distribution and money-laundering conspiracy charges for what the federal government described as unwarranted prescribing of opioid pain relievers at their pain management clinic failed to get their convictions overturned, but will be entitled to new sentencing hearings.
Drs. Deborah Bordeaux, Ricardo Alerre and Michael Jackson ran the Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center in Myrtle Beach until they were arrested in 2003. Prosecutors described the practice as "a front" for drug dealing. Bordeaux was sentenced to 24 years, Alerre to 19 years, and Jackson to eight years.
While the doctors argued on appeal that attorneys for both defense and prosecution had confused the standards for civil malpractice and criminal liability, a three-judge US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Richmond rejected that claim. "The jury entered its deliberations armed with ample admissible evidence and with proper instructions on the applicable legal principles," Judge Robert King wrote in the unanimous opinion.
But the court ruled that they were entitled to be resentenced after even the prosecution acknowledged that the Supreme Courts' ruling earlier this year in the Booker and Fan Fan cases required it. In that ruling, the Supreme Court threw out mandatory federal sentencing guidelines.
The doctors for their part have maintained that they were following accepted medical practice for prescribing opioids for chronic pain management -- as have advocates, including the Pain Relief Network. Bordeaux and others are among a growing number of physicians across the country who have been prosecuted or investigated as the DEA attempts to clamp down on prescription drug abuse.
UNITED STATES V. DEBORAH S. BORDEAUX, M.D.
Deborah S. Bordeaux, M.D. was tried and convicted of distributing controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) after working less than three months at a South Carolina pain treatment clinic.
Dr. Bordeaux, a temporary employee, passed through the clinic shortly after the clinic had come to the attention of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) but well before the bulk of the investigation was completed.
Nine physicians were indicted overall. Five physicians entered into plea agreements and testified against their medical colleagues at trial. A sixth physician also pled guilty but committed suicide before trial.
The remaining three physicians, including Dr. Bordeaux, went to trial. All three were convicted. Dr. Bordeaux, who is now facing sentencing and lengthy imprisonment, continues to maintain her innocence.
Mr. Stutsman was hired by the Pain Relief Network (PRN), a non-profit organization, to develop Dr. Bordeaux's appeal as a test case and, in so doing, to lay the groundwork for improved defense strategies nationwide.
Sentencing was held February 17, 2004 in Florence, South Carolina. Although the federal government recommended imposition of a 100 year sentence, Dr. Bordeaux was sentenced to eight years and one month. Dr. Bordeaux's notice of appeal has been filed.
On March 15, 2004, Mr. Stutsman argued a motion urging the federal district court to allow Dr. Bordeaux to remain free pending her appeal. That motion has not yet been decided.
Dr. Bordeaux's trial and conviction is typical of the many DEA investigations and prosecutions that today seek criminal convictions based upon the wrong legal standard.
Review of the 11 day trial transcript reveals that Dr. Bordeaux was prosecuted under the medical malpractice standard familiar to physicians and attorneys as the "standard of care." The correct legal standard in a criminal proceeding under the CSA is, however, the "course of professional practice," not the civil standard of care.
Review of the trial transcript further exposes the DEA's complete confusion over the applicable legal standard. One fascinating yet painful aspect of Dr. Bordeaux's trial is that only the federal district court judge correctly understood that the course of professional practice standard was a different legal standard than the civil standard of care.
Puzzled by so much civil standard of care evidence in a criminal proceeding, and hearing no objections from the defense lawyers, judge Weston C. Houck raised his own objections. The federal prosecutor resisted and, unfortunately, the defense lawyers either agreed with the federal prosecutor, or they remained silent. Judge Houck raised his objections many times and his frustration is evident from the Annotated Excerpts of Trial Transcript made available elsewhere on this website.
Dr. Bordeaux's appeal is a test case challenging the DEA's prosecution strategies and tactics. Legal briefing is currently underway. The case will be argued and decided later this year.
UPDATE ON DR. BORDEAUX'S CASE
I'm in Florence, South Carolina awaiting tomorrow's hearing on Dr.
Bordeaux's motion for release pending appeal. Eli D. Stutsman, the
attorney I hired (PRN has hired) for Dr. Bordeaux following her
mistaken conviction, has prepared a solid argument and she meets all
the criteria for the judge to have the discretion to leave her out as
we argue her case in the 4th Circuit, and, if necessary, beyond.
The most important criteria is whether or not a substantial question
of law is at issue in the appeal. In her case (and this transfers
over to all the defendants in Comprehensive Care) there is indeed a
substantial issue of law.
Apparently the DOJ and DEA tried and convicted her on standard of
care evidence (their expert says he wouldn't have prescribed that
pill to that person at that time) rather than on the right kind of
evidence (that there was evidence of her dealing drugs or something
like that, which of course there was not). Further, her counsel was
ineffective because they failed to provide her with the defense she
is entitled to under the Controlled Substances Act, i.e., that
the prescribing in question was in the course of her professional
practice, a defense which calls upon the government to show that it
Both the defense and the prosecution got into a debate about whether
the prescribing was medically necessary and such. This is a civil
notion having to do with reimbursement and is not relevant to a
During the trial Judge Houck asked Bill Day the prosecutor if the
phrase "medically necessary" was in the statute. The prosecutor
replied, "Yes, sir. We tracked the statute in the indictment. If it's
medically necessary, they haven't done anything wrong. If it's not
medically necessary, they are drug dealing. So that's a huge issue,
your honor. It could be the whole issue."
The problem for the U.S. is that the statute nowhere mentions
medically necessary, and medical necessity is not at all similar to
the course of professional practice standard.
The DEA was not empowered by congress to regulate medical practice.
The CSA does not require the physician's prescribing to be medically
necessary nor, as Karen Tandy recently mischaracterized her agency's
mandate, that the prescribing has to be within medical norms.
The CSA was intended to punish doctors who are drug dealing, not
doctors who are practicing progressive medicine.
So, of course, the pressure is indescribable. We hope that the judge
will allow Dr. Bordeaux to remain out while we fight for the autonomy
of medical practice in the 50 United States, free of imperatives
imposed by a politically motivated federal government.
Family Member of a Chronic Pain Patient
Founding Executive Director
"Standing up for patients in pain and the doctors who treat them"
A War Against Humanity
Mary is perpetuating the myth that one can be safe by obeying the law and following guidelines, standards, rules. This is the same as saying you cannot get into trouble unless you are doing something wrong.
What a dangerous lady she has become! This is the storyline the DEA would have doctors believe, because it makes every physician in America even easier prey and at risk for arrest for every controlled substance prescription written within at least the past two years.
The DEA agents in South Carolina falsify documents and lie under oath. Physicians do not stand a chance against predators whose sole job, basis for promotion, and greatest desire in life is to prosecute them. If one patient gets into trouble, or even someone who is related to a patient, the opportunity arises for prosecution of the physician. I'm sure they teach this as a step-wise process, from which they can back down early on if challenged by competent legal counsel.
In at least one case, the DEA refused to grant a change of address, instead, delivering a letter stating that controlled substances could not be written from the new location until a modified certificate with the new address was received. The DEA group supervisor who hand-delivered the letter admitted she had already received the request for a change of address and it would "Not be granted any time soon."
The typical threats of certificate revocation continue until the DEA is satisfied they have arrested someone with a connection to a prescription, who can also memorize at least part of their stilted script. They issue an 'order to show cause and immediate suspension of registration' and then ignore everything said or done by the typical attorney who has never before represented a physician against the DEA, and thereby prove to both the doctor and the lawyer that the DEA is above the law. Then they offer deal after deal while they drag things out for a year or two before indictment to insure sufficient loss of income to prevent the physician from ever mounting an adequate defense, all the while, they are methodically and maliciously molding local sentiment and suspicion against the not yet formally accused and his or her suspect patients.
It is easy enough to damage a medical practice or a physician in the community when the DEA places articles in the newspapers, as they admit to having done in South Carolina. There is no public outcry when an already wounded physician is destroyed in court. There is no jury of one's peers, as with a medical board. Reality is a jury of questionably literate, mostly unemployed, intermittently sleeping people who have no idea of what constitutes a prescription written for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional practice. The jurors are startled awake when the prosecutor literally trips over his own feet and gasps "Ahhh," and they know he's made another good point against the bad doctor.
When you lose your DEA registration, no other physician will take more than one or two of your patients before the DEA arrives at his office with threats. After you have been arrested, no other physician will even talk with you on the telephone. Your patients lose.You lose. Writing controlled substance prescriptions for pain patients is accompanied by the very real risk of losing your practice, losing your patients, losing your friends and family, and losing your freedom - losing everything that was your life. There is no safe way to do it. Physicians have become personally responsible for each medication-related action of every patient, including carelessness, gullibility, vulnerability, and susceptibility to entrapment. Prescribing controlled substances has become the most dangerous activity most physicians will ever perform. Fear and dread will ultimately lead to the cold, hard, indifference to suffering necessary for self-preservation of every rational physician.
A misplaced and delusional faith in the American judicial system is not an appropriate response to current events and the perilous, prevailing atmosphere of physician persecution in America. This is a war against humanity, both individual and collective. Mary should tell it like it is, or say nothing at all.
Deborah Bordeaux, M.D.