Dallas doctor indicted on manslaughter

Mar 28, 2005 - Today a Dallas County grand jury indicted a Dallas doctor for allegedly over-prescribing medication to patients who died.

Dr. Daniel Maynard is charged with two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of Tammy Gifford and Janet Westmoreland.

Authorities say Maynard operated a "pill mill"... Where low income patients could fraudulently obtain pain killers.

Police say the South Dallas doctor could be linked to as many as nine other deaths.

Maynard's practice has been closed since 2003 and his license suspended.

Dr. Maynard out on Bond

Wed, 15 Dec 2004 - A Dallas doctor charged with illegally dispensing narcotics is out on bond following a new round of criminal charges.

Friday's charges filed by the Dallas County district attorney aren't the first against Dr. Daniel Maynard, several former patients are suing him as well.

Now, News 8 has obtained exclusive videotaped testimony of Maynard telling his side of what happened at his clinic.

State record show OxyContin, hydrocodone and other addictive, narcotic pain killers were prescribed in high volume through Maynard's clinic. Civil suits allege patients died as a result. Maynard, however, said the criminal and civil charges against him are misdirected.

"I really care about the people I take care of," Maynard said. "I really work hard, and I really take care of sick people ... and how it comes to this, I don't know."

In court testimony concerning the death of one of his patients, Maynard said he prescribed more drugs than many doctors because he worked longer hours. But attorney Mike Sawicki, who is suing Maynard on behalf of the family of a client, said the charges against Maynard go beyond prescribing dangerous prescription drugs to those who wanted them.

"He either wasn't paying attention to a fire that was burning so big it should have lit up the sky, or he knew that thing was burning and was stoking it," Sawicki said.

"I'm being penalized for taking care of sick people," Maynard said. "It's the sick people that get the cancers; it's the sick people that die."

So far, Maynard is charged with patient care in only one case, but the district attorney's office said there are more charges to come.

More here: http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/tv/stories/wfaa041214_am_maynardfolo.d199d01.html

Doctor indicted on drug charges

Physician has denied responsibility for patient deaths

Friday, December 10, 2004
By ROBERT THARP and TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News

A South Dallas pain-management physician who wrote prescriptions for at least a dozen patients who later overdosed or suffered fatal complications was indicted Friday on felony charges of dispensing medicine without a valid reason.

Prosecutors pledged that the 18-month investigation that led to the three indictments against Dr. Daniel Maynard is not over. More charges against the physician and other suspects are possible, said District Attorney Bill Hill.

"It's been a long time coming. It took a lot more work than any of us anticipated," Mr. Hill said. "We're not finished yet."

Neither Dr. Maynard nor his attorney, Jim Rolfe, could be reached for comment Friday. In civil court documents, he has denied responsibility for any of the deaths in question.

The three charges handed down center on the case of a 44-year-old Grand Prairie woman who died in January 2002. Dr. Maynard, 58, is accused of prescribing her three different narcotics methadone, hydrocodone and Oxycodone without a valid medical reason.

At the time of Janet Westmoreland's death, investigators found at least eight prescriptions in her home.

Her relatives could not be reached for comment, but an attorney suing Dr. Maynard for the family and almost two dozen other patients or relatives of Dr. Maynard's patients welcomed the indictments.

"It's one step in a long journey to obtain justice for my clients," said Kay Van Wey. "Mr. Maynard placed profits, his own profits, over the lives and health of his patients. ... He demonstrated a complete indifference to his patients' lives and well-being."

Two of the charges carry punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000; the third charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Attorneys for the doctor were making arrangements late Friday for him to surrender and post the combined $75,000 bail.

Dr. Maynard's practice on Martin Luther King Boulevard near Fair Park may have been small in size, but the sheer volume of patients made him one of the busiest prescribers of narcotics in the state, records show.

His office staff took no appointments, so patients, most of whom relied on Medicare/Medicaid to pay their bills, typically began lining up before dawn to assure that they got in the door. By the end of a busy day, as many as 150 to 200 patients had passed through his doors, authorities said.

Besides the charge of issuing prescriptions without a valid medical reason, court records indicate that the investigation into Dr. Maynard has also examined whether the doctor's actions contributed to the deaths of his patients.

The patients who died were both young and old and their deaths all occurred in recent years, according to court records. Their autopsies listed various causes of death, including drug overdoses, toxic effects of mixed drugs and congestive heart failure.

According to state records for 2002, Dr. Maynard led the state in prescriptions for the sedative diazepam and logged the second-highest number of prescriptions for hydrocodone. In that year alone, he wrote 54,748 prescriptions.

After receiving prescriptions, patients typically lined up outside an adjacent storefront pharmacy. That business was the largest dispenser of 10-milligram diazepham in the state's Medicaid program for low-income Texans in 2002.

Authorities executed a search warrant to his Lakewood home and South Dallas office in June 2003 after receiving several complaints from relatives of patients who had overdosed from medication prescribed by him. His medical license was suspended a short time later.

Mr. Hill declined to comment on the status of the investigation and the likelihood that more-serious charges could still come. But he said authorities continue to be interested in how those patients died.

"We're looking at the cause and effect of those prescriptions being taken by some patients who ultimately died,"he said.

Mary Johnson, whose daughter, Tracie Bond, overdosed from medications prescribed by Dr. Maynard, welcomed the criminal charges announced Friday.

"He did wrong and my daughter suffered because of it," Ms. Johnson said. "A few years in the penitentiary wouldn't hurt him. ...He was handing out pills like it was candy."

Ms. Bond, a mother of three who was on medication prescribed by Dr. Maynard before she was paralyzed after having a one-car accident, was found dead in her bedroom in 2002, an empty morphine bottle beside her.

Mr. Hill said the indictments serve notice on doctors who run so-called "pill mills" and not those who treated the millions of Americans who rely upon these drugs to legitimately treat chronic pain problems.

"We feel like these drugs are proper and very helpful to people who need them," Mr. Hill said. "But those who are prescribing these drugs without a valid purpose they better beware."

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6/11/03 - Agencies raid Dallas doctor's office

Court records link S. Dallas practice to 11 overdose deaths

Investigators raided the office, bank and home Tuesday of a doctor whose South Dallas practice is linked in court records to the deaths of 11 patients.

In an affidavit filed Tuesday, Dr. Daniel Maynard, 57, is described by an investigator as prescribing narcotics without a valid medical purpose and defrauding the state Medicare and Medicaid systems by charging for medical services that were never performed. Dr. Maynard, a doctor of osteopathy and a Texas general practitioner since 1973, has not been arrested and could not be reached for comment. A woman who came to the window of his Lakewood neighborhood home declined to comment Tuesday.

District Attorney Bill Hill said his office and five other local and federal agencies began investigating Dr. Maynard after complaints by family members of patients who died from drug overdoses.

"We're certainly concerned about that many deaths that were the result of drug overdoses and having been patients of one particular doctor," Mr. Hill said. "We want to review the patient files and see if in fact there was any causation between those deaths and the medications Dr. Maynard was prescribing."

He said the investigation may last months and has no timeline. He can continue practicing, though the Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating whether to pull his license to prescribe narcotics.

Details of the investigation became public Tuesday when officials served a warrant to search his clinic and other properties.

If charges are filed, it would be one of the largest cases of its kind in the South, officials said. Doctors in Texas, Florida, Georgia and New Mexico have faced criminal charges ranging from murder to manslaughter in the overdose deaths of a handful of patients, but none has been linked to as many as 11 deaths.

The alleged victims ranged in age from 29 to 62, and their deaths occurred during the last three years, according to court records. Their autopsies listed various causes of death, including drug overdoses, toxic effects of mixed drugs and congestive heart failure.

A Parkland hospital emergency room doctor who reviewed two of the overdose deaths told investigators that the volume and combination of drugs prescribed would in time be lethal to a patient.

Records show that among Texas doctors in 2002, Dr. Maynard wrote the most prescriptions for the sedative Diazepam and the second-most prescriptions for Tylenol with codeine. That year, he wrote 54,748 prescriptions, according to the records.

Mr. Hill said he believed that the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners was conducting its own investigation of Dr. Maynard. An official with the board would not confirm that or say whether Dr. Maynard was the subject of past complaints by patients.

"We have not taken any disciplinary action against Dr. Maynard," said Jill Wiggins, public information officer for the board. "Whether or not he's had complaints and investigations in the past is confidential by statute."

Osteopaths go through much the same training as other doctors and practice a whole-person approach to medicine, according to the American Osteopathic Association. They also receive extra training in the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones and use their hands to diagnose injury and illness, according to the association.

News of Tuesday's raid at Dr. Maynard's office on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard elated the husband of one alleged victim.

"It'll save a lot of people's lives," Chris Burton said of the raid. "It could have saved my wife's life."

Mr. Burton said his wife, Dolores Burton, began seeing Dr. Maynard in 1992 because of chronic back pain related to a 1989 on-the-job accident.

"A friend of hers had told her about him," Mr. Burton said. "She [the friend] told her he'd give her anything she wanted, whatever she asked for. And he did. He wouldn't so much as put a stethoscope to her."

Dr. Maynard had prescribed Mrs. Burton a number of medications, including the painkiller Percodan; Valium, an anti-anxiety drug; the antidepressant Trazedone; and the antidepressant Zoloft, Mr. Burton said. The doctor prescribed the painkiller Hydrocodone for seven years then switched her to Percodan because of liver concerns, Mr. Burton said.

"He kept supplying her the medicine every month," he said. "Sometimes she wouldn't even have to go in. He'd just call it in."

He said his wife's physical condition drastically deteriorated over the last decade. He said his wife suffered 27 strokes in the 18 months before her Jan. 3 death.

"She just went downhill from stroke after stroke," Mr. Burton said. "She died at home in my arms after 22 years" of marriage" he said, his voice cracking.

The families of other alleged victims could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Investigators also raided a nearby pharmacy that issued many of the doctor's prescriptions. Dr. Maynard does not own the pharmacy but does own the building and the lot, officials and records say.

Court records say former and current employees told investigators that the clinic took no appointments patients were seen on a first-come, first-served basis. A former employee said in records that some patients slept outside the clinic "in order to be able to sign in on the sign-in sheet first."

She told investigators, according to court documents, "It was very scary because the people would become violent. Everyone wanted to sign in first, and most of them were high on drugs."

Mr. Burton, 53, said Dr. Maynard's clinic paid for off-duty police officers to keep patients from walking out of the nearby pharmacy and selling their prescription drugs to others.

Current and former employees echoed Mr. Burton's observations. They told investigators that off-duty officers provided protection and that the clinic saw up to 200 patients per day, records say.

Forty to 50 patients were inside Dr. Maynard's office when dozens of law-enforcement officers stormed the brick and stucco building about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Patients said Dr. Maynard was not present when investigators from the attorney general's office, Dallas Police Department, DEA, district attorney's office, FBI and Health and Human Services' office of inspector general arrived.

Officers used plastic handcuffs to restrain people, including patients wearing oxygen masks. Officers checked them for outstanding arrest warrants before releasing them, several patients said. Authorities also brought a large truck to the scene for evidence removal.

Some patients said law officers asked them whether Dr. Maynard gave them more medication than they asked for. They said they told the officers he did not.

"I just get Valium for bad nerves," said Delicha Johnson, a patient who was briefly detained. "Dr. Maynard is a very good doctor. Why would police come up into a doctor's office like that?"

Cordell Cornell, another patient who was briefly held, said he sees Dr. Maynard because he has chronic back problems. "I just know he's a good doctor," he said.

Tuesday evening, police were still at the clinic, across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and down the street from James Madison High School. Officials said it was unclear whether clinic business would be conducted as normal Wednesday. "Unless the state does something immediately, yes, he could" continue to prescribe medications, said DEA Special Agent in Charge Sherri Strange. "Of course, it concerns us."

Doctors allowed to prescribe certain types of medicines, including narcotics, must be licensed through the DEA.

Agent Strange said the DEA could pull Dr. Maynard's license to prescribe narcotics, an action that would not require court action. She said DEA investigators had not yet reviewed what was seized from Dr. Maynard's office.

Mr. Hill said he does not want the raid to hamper doctors who legitimately prescribe narcotics.

"We are not casting a blanket indictment on the medical profession because there certainly are legitimate reasons to prescribe narcotics," he said. "I certainly don't want this to have a chilling effect on physicians with patients who have a legitimate need for those types of narcotics because of severe chronic pain."

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