Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, a 76 y/o orthopedist in Tampa, Florida, was convicted of drug charges in February, 2016.
An article in Tampa Bay Times written by Patty Ryan, staff writer, was titled “Pinellas Park pill mill doctor and wife convicted of federal drug conspiracy charges.”
As an innocent former physician convicted of the same charges, I can speak with some authority on the information presented in the article. From what I’ve read, I can say with some surety that Dr. Feldman is probably another Doctor of Courage, caught up in the government’s agenda in attacking easy physician targets for money.
Problems with this case which point to Dr. Feldman’s innocence and many others in the country just like it.
- He was convicted of illegally prescribing oxycodone that lead to the deaths of three patients. “In each case, the jury found he prescribed controlled narcotics without legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of normal practice.”
A doctor’s prescribing of a controlled substance is legal.
The US Code states:
1306.04 Purpose of issue of prescription.
(a) A prescription for a controlled substance to be effective must be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice.
Using the phrases “without legitimate medical purpose” and “outside the course of normal medical practice” has become a justice department loophole supported all the way through the system, in order to take control of physician’s assets. The original phrase was to exempt physicians from facing charges under the Controlled Substance Act. As stated by the Supreme Court, doctors are exempt unless they are selling like street pushers. As long as the patient is being evaluated and treated, all physicians should be exempt of charges like this one. In the last 20 years, the government has found out that they can make money attacking doctors by making this vague charge, so they do it. And no one is stopping them. The way it should be is this:
If a doctor evaluates a patient and determines that he/she needs a controlled drug for the problem, he is prescribing within the course of legitimate medical practice. But instead, now we have simply over-zealous US Attorneys making this claim against anybody they want. They aren’t doctors. They don’t know the decision-making steps to determine need for a controlled drug. So why are they now considered the experts in what is legitimate medical practice?
- “The courts are increasingly holding physicians accountable for such conduct [prescribing without legitimate medical purpose]. In Los Angeles, a pill mill doctor was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison after a jury blamed her for the deaths of three patients.”
Doctors should never be held responsible for a patient’s death due to overdose on drugs unless the prescription is out of the range of therapeutic level for the patient. Doctors are not present when the patient takes the drug. We are not responsible if the patient has come to us under false pretenses to abuse the medication. We are not responsible if the patient has the intention of committing suicide. No matter what, the death of a patient should not become a criminal charge against the doctor. If the doctor prescribed incorrectly, it should be handled as a civil matter for malpractice, not criminal. But again, more prosecutors are using attacks on doctors to bring in money through confiscation of the doctor’s assets.
- The use of the term “pill mill” for a legitimate doctor’s office. This is a term used in this article for Dr. Feldman’s practice. There is no evidence of that being the case in the information given. It is a negative term to use against doctors to inflame prejudice against them. Shame on you, Ms. Ryan. It is irresponsible reporting like this that puts innocent people in prison.
- “It was the government’s second shot at trying the case — the first effort in November ended in a mistrial — and it was the doctor’s second felony conviction. He was put on probation in 2004 for taking kickbacks from an MRI clinic, which led to a brief suspension of his medical license.”
Perfect evidence that Dr. Feldman was simply a target of the government and has really done nothing criminal. Just like me, he was first attacked financially. This is how the government gets through the doctor’s office door. In my case they charged me with Medicare fraud. Of course, every doctor in this country can be charged with Medicare fraud. The government has made it so, so they can acquire any doctor’s assets that they want. It’s all about the money.
- “The doctor’s wife, Kim Feldman, 66, was convicted along with her husband of five related counts in a $5.7 million drug and money conspiracy.”
Again, demonstration that the entire purpose of this operation is to acquire the doctor’s assets. Knowing that the government is targeting doctors to take their assets, Dr. Feldman thought he was protecting his by putting his office in his wife’s name. But to get their hands on the dough, they charge the wife with conspiracy. Did you know that there is no defense in this country for conspiracy? There are a lot of innocent people sitting in prison cells because of conspiracy charges. Conspiracy laws need to be changed so that there has to be proof of the conspiracy. Right now, no proof is needed. The charge makes you guilty.
Kim Feldman’s attorney, Timothy Taylor, described her as a square peg in the DEA’s round-holed conspiracy investigation, telling jurors she had little involvement in the clinic. He said she was charged only so that the government could seize the couple’s assets, which include the building that houses the Feldman Orthopedic and Wellness Center on Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park and a house in Tampa’s Ballast Point area.
- “In reports last year, the Tampa Bay Times told of pill bottles bearing Feldman’s name found at numerous overdose scenes.”
Pain management in Florida has become a disaster. People cannot get medication for pain. And when they get a prescription, they can’t find a pharmacy to fill it. Pain is the worst condition a person can have. I’m sure a portion of the overdoses involved here were quite possibly suicide. Or they could have been accidental, with patients that hadn’t had medications for a while, and didn’t know their system would have become less tolerant with time. There is no way that deaths should be blamed on the doctor unless, as stated previously, the prescription is grossly overwritten in strength.
- “Wednesday’s verdicts came in the fourth week of a trial that showed the illicit side of pain management clinics, with talk of patient track marks, parking lot police stakeouts and a doctor with a high-speed cash counter.”
Running a cash-only pain management practice should not be an indication of illegality. Since the government uses charges involving insurance billing to get into an office, many pain management physicians are now running practices that do not bill insurance. Such was my case. The government tried to make me look like I was illegitimate for the same reason. But with my office charges as low as $35 per visit, they really had to pull the wool over the eyes of the jury stating that I was “doing it for the money”. But they did, surprisingly enough. Even though their “expert witness” physician charged $300 per visit!
- “Hale suggested Feldman’s prescribing practices were influenced more by the physician’s greed than the patients’ ploys. The prosecutor said he handed out addictive drugs like they were candy and ignored red flags signaling abuse.”
Typical US Attorney bulls___—make the doctor appear to be after the money, using phrases like “handing drugs out like they were candy” to prejudice the jury.
- The doctor’s attorney was Dale Sisco. He told jurors “Feldman was unfairly targeted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and was guilty of nothing more than incomplete recordkeeping.” Feldman, eliciting assurances that he considered himself an advocate for his patients.
Considering Dr. Feldman’s age, I can guess that he kept paper records, and they were in the old style where hardly anything was documented. Back in his day, a doctor’s decision was enough to prove treatment. Incomplete recordkeeping is not a crime. Again, as long as the patient is evaluated and a decision is made by that evaluation, the doctor should not be found guilty of doing anything criminal.
- Involvement of the staff in their testimony. Clinic staff had implicated Ms. Feldman in their testimony.
Jurors need to be aware of the extent of perjury in court today. In my case, the testimony of most of the witnesses that said anything against me was perjured. Since the defendant cannot communicate with staff once charged with a crime, he/she is at a loss. And the government threatens and coerces people to say what they want. In my case, my nurse was held in interrogation for 6 hours, threatened to be sent to prison if she didn’t lie on the witness stand. She was strong and refused, but the doctor in my office caved in and committed perjury. My guess is that Dr. Feldman’s staff was also threatened with conspiracy charges, and simply said whatever they were told to say.
Overall, from the information in this article, I can honestly say that I think Dr. Feldman is innocent, the US Attorney targeted a physician for money/job status, etc., and the reporter of the article wrote for sensationalism, spreading the anti-doctor agenda of the government just a little farther.
We, the American people, have to stop this flagrant attack on good, caring physicians. Tell your friends about this website. Inform us of other doctors being charged. Send us information on the true experiences patients have had in the doctor’s offices. Get involved. Next time it might be your doctor being attacked.