Dewey C. Mackay, a 68 y/o white male orthopedic surgeon from Brigham City, Utah, was indicted on 129 counts of prescribing without justifiable medical purpose. He was convicted in 2011 on 40 counts for distribution including 2 counts of distribution resulting in death, and 3 counts of use of a facility in a drug trafficking offense (what the government needs to confiscate his assets).
“I am not a criminal and I am not a drug dealer,” stated Dr. Mackay in U.S. District Court. That is a true statement, and the crux of the problem with the current attacks on doctors in the U.S. We are not criminals or drug dealers, and should not be created to be by government agenda. Dr. MacKay said he looks forward to the day God judges him. “I know in that great day that I will be vindicated. He will make right for all that has gone wrong here.” He also said those who prosecuted and testified against him will be held accountable for what they have done. I have the same sentiments about the criminals that put me in prison. They acted intentionally and will receive their just punishment.
Judge Benson sentenced MacKay to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. He did so reluctantly, speaking about the unfairness of the sentence from the bench. Later he even accused prosecutors of vindictiveness. He did, however, refuse to impose the restitution the prosecutors sought for the “victims”. [But I bet the government still confiscated all of Dr. MacKay’s assets. They just wanted to keep them in the government coffers, not issue them out to people.]
Dr. Mackay’s comment about the charges was that he is trained to believe his patients are telling the truth about taking medication and seeing other doctors. He said he stopped treating patients he believed were addicts and referred them to other sources for help. Now that is all that can be expected of a doctor. That was how it was in my practice as well. Knowing how the government was going after doctors, a known addict trying to be seen in my office was referred to an addictionologist. Now people who are “addicts” can also have pain and deserve to be on opiates. But I required them to get a referral from the addictionologist to receive treatment. With that referral, a doctor should be able to continue medication in a regimented manner without fear of government reprisal. But Dr. Mackay didn’t even go that far.
Dr. Mackay even had a congressman who was a friend, U.S. Rep Rob Bishop, R-Utah, listed as a character witness, but he didn’t testify. I wonder why. It is my belief, after the shoddy defense I had, that defense attorneys don’t want to end the gravy train any more than the government attorneys, so they work together. I’ll bet the defense attorney chose not to have Rep. Bishop testify. According to the media, Rep. Bishop had previously made comments about his disgust with the DEA’s investigation and treatment of Dr. Mackay.
The DEA had accused MacKay of pushing 80 to 120 patients through his office in an eight-hour day, spending just minutes with each person. But if all of the patients were known by Dr. MacKay and just receiving refills, that is not unprofessional. All he has to establish is that the patient continues to have pain, that the medication is effective in relieving the pain, and there are no other issues. In 2009 they issued an immediate suspension order for Dr. MacKay’s certificate to write controlled drug prescriptions. If they were so concerned with Dr. MacKay’s lack of time spent with his patients, why did they suddenly stop their treatment altogether? It is action like this that causes addiction. Because addiction is caused by anxiety and toxicity, both increasing in a patient with pain that suddenly does not have medication to treat his pain. The government isn’t interested in the health and well-being of the citizens, only attacking doctors they have targeted to confiscate their assets. The suspension of his certificate was on the ground that his continued registration during the pendency of the proceeding “constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety.” How is throwing people into sudden withdrawal providing them safety? In my area when doctors have been suddenly prevented from treating patients, patients have died. I personally lost 15 patients out of 150 when they closed my office. And that is only the ones I know about—there are probably more. That is 10% of the patients being seen. How much more of an imminent danger to public health and safety is that? In my opinion, the DEA needs to be charged with people’s death, not the doctors taking care of them. Ah-hah! Maybe that’s an idea. Confiscate the DEA agents’ assets all the way up to the Director. They are probably higher than the doctors’, and the government could make more money!!!
One of the deaths attributed to Dr. MacKay was 55 y/o David Leslie Wirick in 2006. Mr. Wirick was a rocket scientist at Alliant Techsystems. He died after a three-day binge of hydrocodone, obviously against the written prescription directions. But part of the prosecutors’ ploy in prosecuting Dr. MacKay was alleging that he had the highest volume of hydrocodone prescriptions and the fourth-highest volume for oxycodone prescriptions in the state from 2005 to 2008.
Now, to speak about doctors being charged with patient deaths. How could this be occurring? The doctor is not present doling out the medications to the patients at home. People are responsible for their own behavior. Why aren’t distilleries or shops that sell alcohol being charged with deaths of people who die from alcohol poisoning? Simply because the government can’t make money with those charges. If a person dies because of a faulty appliance, civil court is the avenue for compensation. Why not here? If someone wants to blame the doctor for a loved one’s death, this is the avenue to be used, not criminal charges. The only way criminal charges should be in effect is if the doctor intentionally fed drugs to a patient causing him to die.
Statistics show that from 210,000 to 440,000 patients have died due to hospital mistakes each year, making that the third-leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer. Are hospitals being charged with killing patients? They would be if the government could confiscate the assets, I can assure you. It is all about the money.
The Show Cause Order for the suspension of Dr. MacKay’s DEA certificate alleged that “from June 2005 to the present,” Respondent “issued numerous purported prescriptions for controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.” This is the standard catchall phrase being used now in the court to prosecute doctors, and it has to be stopped. Perverting the meaning of the clause in the CSA that exempted doctors from prosecution is wrong. But it is being supported throughout the Department of Justice, all the way to the Supreme Court, in spite of Supreme Court judges stating this was not the purpose of the law. Again, follow the money.
Dr. MacKay has had one good thing happen. Even though he should never have been charged, and should never have spent a day in prison, he has at least been released from prison as of 12/09/14, most likely due to the removal of the mandatory minimum law. Now we need to change the laws to prevent actions like this from happening in the first place.