Charles R. Szyman, MD a pain specialist from Manitowoc, WI, accused of over-prescribing narcotic medications, was found not guilty of all charges by a jury Nov 17, 2017.
“I think what this verdict ultimately proves is that the United States government’s attempt to scapegoat and paper over the opioid crisis by blaming doctors who are just trying to do their job for people who are suffering from pain, that’s not going to work,” said Beau Brindley, lead counsel for Dr. Szyman’s defense. “We do not go after doctors and blame them for a bigger problem, as opposed to actually deal with and treat that problem,” Brindley said. “Dr. Szyman worked hard to take care of his patients for years and years and years, and this jury validated that.”
Yeah for a defense lawyer who finally shows ethics and moral character. Also representing Dr. Szyman was Michael Thompson.
The trial lasted only five days. On the side of evil stood Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Jacobs and Laura Schulteis Kwaterski. In his closing, Mr.Jacobs said that Dr. Szyman failed in his duty to protect his patients when he prescribed them ever-increasing doses of narcotics without understanding the source of the patients’ pain and properly monitoring their use.
Really? And where is your medical degree, Mr. Jacobs? And how do you come up with such lies and sleep at night? Oh—that’s right—it’s the money.
Beau Brindley did what every defense attorney should do. He pointed out that the case was not about medical malpractice, not about negligence, but was a criminal case.
“They are not calling Charles Szyman a doctor, they are calling him a criminal,” Brindley said. This is a point that every defense attorney in the country should be bringing home to the juries—that a doctor working in his office treating pain is not criminal.
According to Brindley, Szyman acted in good faith and truly believed he was prescribing appropriate amounts of medication to address the debilitating pain many of the patients complained of. He also said there was no reason for Szyman to knowingly give patients more narcotics than they needed.
“Where is the bad faith?” Brindley asked. “I’m not talking about if he should have been more skeptical. I’m talking about bad faith, bad intention.”
Dr. Szyman was a pain specialist for Holy Family Memorial in Manitowoc until he was terminated in October 2015 after his medical license was suspended by the Wisconsin Medical Examination Board as a result of an investigation into his practice. This shows how the state Boards of Medicine are simply henchmen of the US Attorney’s and States’ Attorney’s offices.
In June, 2016, he was indicted for 19 counts of drug trafficking for allegedly over-prescribing narcotic medications and pleaded “not guilty” to each of the charges. The indictment stated the usual misuse of the exemption phrase in the Controlled Substance Act—that Dr. Szyman “knowingly and intentionally distributed unlawfully a controlled substance outside of his professional practice and not for a legitimate purpose”.
On the witness stand, Dr. Szyman described his practice as a normal pain clinic with the aim to help people with their suffering while taking the necessary precautions.
“When people speak of pain and the treatment of pain, we talk about the complications of treating the pain, but we rarely speak of the complications of not treating the pain,” he said.
Szyman said he was seeing 350 to 400 patients and only a small percentage were on what he called high-dose opioid therapy. He said he first encountered the therapy, using high dosages of opioids to treat non-malignant chronic pain, in a seminar in the early 1990s and it seemed practical to him.
“To me, it made sense,” Szyman said. “Why does a human being have to suffer just because they don’t have cancer?”
He said he would typically start by finding alternative options for the patient, but when treatment with opioids became inevitable, he would start them on a low dose and eventually increase it until the patient reported they were functional in their daily lives.
“Trying to help these people was labor intensive and emotionally draining … because I was concerned for them,” Szyman said.
According to Szyman, he had no indication some of his patients were lying to him to obtain ever-increasing amounts of narcotics. He said he always believed he was prescribing medication for a “legitimate medical purpose,” and to prescribe medication without a purpose was unethical.
The prosecution’s evil PAID TO LIE “expert” witness was Dr. Timothy King, a pain specialist and anesthesiologist from Indianapolis. Stay away from him as a doctor. As usual, though, his testimony about Dr. Szyman’s patients was limited to the information included in their medical files. He looked at several patients who were on high doses of opioids due to years of treatment and the usual opioid tolerance, and called the amounts “egregious”. I remember that term being used by the lying expert witness in my case as well, Dr. Marc Swanson of Roanoke, VA. I guess this 4 dollar word is something they learn in the “How to Lie 101” class for prosecutorial expert witnessing.
The prosecution also used the testimony from two DEA agents, Greg Connor and Kelsey Knaup, who obtained prescriptions from Dr. Szyman fraudulently. They are the REAL criminals. They complained about pain they didn’t really have, and Dr. Szyman believed them and treated them appropriately for the pain they described.
Mr. Thompson told the jury “There are two things about this case that are true. The first is that Charles Szyman is a physician … the second is that Charles Szyman did his job.”
Yeah for the people of Wisconsin. Possibly some of them have been following American Pain Institute, or this website. But whatever the reason, good job, Wisconsin.
However, Dr. Szyman is not finished with the attacks. He is also facing a wrongful deaths lawsuit with Holy Family Memorial in Manitowoc County Circuit Court. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 4, 2016, alleges he caused the deaths of Heidi Buretta, Monica Debot, Mark Gagnon and Alan Eggert through his practice and prescription of narcotics. But again, if he prescribed in good faith and had professional decision making, he should be declared innocent.