On November 20, 2017, another innocent life changed forever. Dr. Chris A. Christensen was convicted in Montana Court of two charges of negligent homicide for the deaths of Gregg Griffin and Kara Philbrick-Lenker, 11 counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs and nine counts of felony criminal endangerment. From the testimony of Gregg Griffin’s mom, in which he, a proclaimed addict, said “I love you, Mom,” and was dead the next morning, it would appear that was an intentional overdose. The other was someone who was near death and refused to go on hospice. How could Dr. Christensen be declared guilty of negligence in either case? I propose it was through gross government misconduct.
Dr. Christensen’s original 400 count indictment was cut down to 22, but the damage had already been done. The press took care of that, reporting this pre-trial, as well as other negative information. If testimony is going to be eliminated from the trial, and therefore can’t be defended, why is it being written in the media? That, in my opinion, is jury tampering. It is truly laughable, except for the sad fact that it probably contributed to jury opinion before the trial even started. The judge issued an order about irrelevant evidence that would not be told to the jury, but then Ravalli Republic printed it. Could the media be in cahoots with the prosecution? Well, it has been my observation that they are a main contributor to the opioid epidemic as spreader of government propaganda. I don’t think this case is an exception. I offered my services and knowledge to the reporter covering this trial, and I was never approached.
Judge Jeffrey Langton also showed his pro-prosecutorial stance by limiting the witnesses Dr. Christensen could have—witnesses that could have informed the jurors of the truth, not just carry on the government propaganda against opioid therapy for pain. He disallowed the testimony from former patients and Dr. Mark Ibsen that would have shown that the two overdoses were an aberration, not gross negligence, and that Dr. Christensen was a careful, knowledgeable, and caring doctor, who didn’t encourage opiate use, but offered it as an alternative if appropriate.
In spite of Judge Langton not allowing defense witnesses because they were “irrelevant”, he did allow expert witnesses, such as Dr. Brett Bender, on the prosecution side, in spite of the fact that the testimony was merely hypothetical. Dr. Bender is listed as in emergency medicine but practices at The Spine and Pain Center in Missoula for pain management. He is obviously prejudiced enough to even commit perjury because he could invoke the ire of the government and become a target, or he has a vested interest in making sure Dr. Christensen does not return to practice and be competition.
Judge Langton also allowed the prosecution to reference actions taken against Christensen by the Idaho Board of Medicine—past history, not pertinent to the case, and prejudicial. Boards of Medicine are simply arms of the State Attorneys. They usually leave a paper trail against any doctor being targeted, just for such a purpose.
I don’t believe Dr. Christensen had a chance in hell of changing people’s opinion, even if his face had looked like Jesus Christ’s
This case also shows how lawyers are one big happy family, with the goal being “make money”, not “seek justice”. Christensen’s attorney, Josh Van de Wetering, now a criminal defense lawyer, had been an Assistant U. S. Attorney for 10 years. Could he have been in the pocket of the County Attorney like my defense lawyer was with the US Attorney? Quite possibly. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Montana Law School, and had even been one of prosecutor Thorin Geist’s professors. Geist was open enough to even praise Van de Wetering, saying
“There’s a lot of cases where you get opposing counsel on the other side that you don’t like,” Geist said. “So I was really pleased when Christensen retained Josh.”
He had also worked in the county attorney’s office in the past, and ran in 2014 for Missoula county attorney, but lost to Kirstin Pabst. I wonder if he has thoughts of trying again? Could politics have been a factor in this trial? Politics does have strange bedfellows.
There’s not much in Montana law to describe what should be included as “negligent homicide”. I guess that is where it is important for the jury to know the truth—truth that it doesn’t appear Van de Wetering presented. All the law states is:
45-5-104. Negligent homicide. (1) A person commits the offense of negligent homicide if the person negligently causes the death of another human being.
Negligent is defined as: guilty of or characterized by neglect, as of duty:
Now how did a jury convict a doctor prescribing in good faith, medicines that he had years of experience with? County and US attorneys write in their documents, “Based on my knowledge and experience”, and their word becomes law. Well, Dr. Christensen’s prescriptions were also based on knowledge and experience, and in no way were negligent. But did Van de Wetering point that out?
Did you know that iatrogenic death by doctor is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer? The total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is estimated by some to be 783,936 per year. The combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage include:
- 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
- 106,000 deaths a year from non-error, adverse effects of medications
From 1976 to 2006, 62 million death certificates were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.
Have any of those doctors been charged with negligent homicide? Of course not! Why? Because the government can’t forfeit the doctor’s assets unless the charges are related to controlled drugs. And they know that they probably wouldn’t win. It is only because of the opiaphobic propaganda today that doctors like Dr. Christensen are being witch-hunted.
Dr. Christensen will be appealing the conviction after sentencing, which is scheduled December 27. I think he’s got multiple procedural grounds for a new trial. “It sets a precedent,” is a true statement by Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright. And the precedent is wrong and propaganda based. It is important for the state of Montana to reverse this precedent. Doctors must be free to treat patients using their knowledge and expertise without fear that an educated decision they make in pain management will put their lives in jeopardy.
The only other doctor guilty of negligent homicide in the state, Dr. James Bischoff, pleaded guilty after allegedly euthanizing a patient. That was intentional, and he was sentenced to 6 years in prison after the government had agreed to only 2 years. The deaths of the 2 patients of Dr. Christensen was unintentional, and yet Dr. Christensen could be sentenced to 20 years for each. What’s wrong with this picture?
The government is actually the party guilty of negligent homicide. When they closed Dr. Christensen down, 800 patients became opiate refugees, unable to find other doctors willing to treat them. I wonder how many of them became “overdose statistics”?
Attorney Geist quoted the medical principle “First, do no harm,” against Dr. Christensen, when 800 patients were thrown into withdrawal by the DEA, Mr Geist, and the Board of Medical Examiners. How dare Mr, Geist quote the Oath physicians take and practice by, when they are the REAL cause of opioid deaths!
We have to stop this government misconduct prosecuting and convicting innocent doctors dedicated to the care of patients. Attacks are even worse by the federal government, and now states are jumping on the gravy train. YOU, the people, must stop this. The only way is to make your legislators understand the evil being done.
Doctorsofcourage is developing a membership site to work together to stop this evil. But we can’t do it without you.
First, you MUST communicate one-on-one with the health issues staff person for each of your legislators. Phone calls, emails, MUST be top priority. If you don’t know the phone number/email of your respective representatives, fill out the box to the right, and we will send you that information. It will not be immediate, because we have to individually look up each request. But we will get it back to you! Please make this a priority!