Ex-Long Island doctor sentenced to prison for 5 opioid prescription deaths

CeFaan Kim Image
Monday, January 22, 2024
Former doctor sentenced to prison for 5 opioid prescription deaths
CeFaan Kim is live in Mineola with the breaking details.

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- The first doctor in New York to be charged with murder for illegally prescribing drugs to people already addicted to opioids was sentenced on Monday.

Dr. George Blatti was previously convicted of five counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

During the sentencing, he also heard emotional impact statements from loved ones of those he killed.

Family members of victims were unconvinced Blatti is sorry for what he did. They are convinced instead he took the plea agreement because it was the best deal he could get.

During court, the judge addressed Blatti as mister, saying, "you are certainly no doctor," and called him a disgrace.

It was a first-of-its-kind case in New York to have a doctor charged with murder for prescription practices.

He was charged under the theory of depraved indifference to human life after prosecutors say he filled prescriptions with no review or exams, ignored preexisting conditions, prescribed to patients with whom he never met or spoke with and started them on the highest dose possible.

Authorities say even after asking to get off meds and after overdosing, the doctor kept prescribing patients more opioids in exchange for cash.

He practiced out of an old abandoned Radio Shack.

The building still had a Radio Shack sign up and merchandise racks on the walls, no medical equipment -- but a waiting room full of patients.

He even worked out of his car, parked in the lot of a hotel he was staying at, and at a Dunkin' Donuts.

"This is a tragedy of unbelievable proportions, in the face of that tragedy my client did, as I said in the courtroom, did only thing he could do which was to plead guilty and therefore accept responsibility and punishment for what he did," said defense attorney Jeffrey Groder.

Prosecutors say he didn't take a handgun and shoot someone, he didn't take a knife and stab someone, but he killed five people they say, because he was their doctor and they trusted him when they were vulnerable.

Each victim died within days of seeing him.

Blatti will be eligible for parole in five years.

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