- A Prescribing Doctor May Face Murder Charges 010730
C. Ron Allen, a staff
writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported
on May 19, 2001 that Dr. Denis Deonarine was
arrested and charged with improperly dispensing prescriptions for
OxyContin. Dr. Deonarine could be
charged with murder because four of his patients have allegedly overdosed
on OxyContin prescribed by the Doctor. Deonarine,
56, has not been charged with any deaths. State Attorney Barry Krischer
said he would, however, present evidence to a grand jury next month and
seek murder charges against the doctor.
Thursday arrested Deonarine, 56, on charges that he defrauded Medicare of
$67,000 in improper prescription of the pills, which when chewed, or
crushed then injected or snorted, can give the user a sudden high.
Deonarine is accused of filing 72 unauthorized
Medicare claims, according to an arrest report.
Wayna Marie McCullom, 42,
the doctor's office manager, also was charged with defrauding the Medicaid
program. She was released Thursday on $3,000 bail.
"The doctor has done
nothing wrong," attorney Richard Lubin said of Dr. Denis Deonarine.
"Every prescription was based on medical necessity. There is no basis
in the law for first-degree murder or for homicide charges. It's
"This drug is legal.
It's for chronic pain, and doctors are suppose to prescribe this for
people with chronic pains," he said. "This man runs a legitimate
practice. Let's start arresting every liquor store that sells liquor or
every store owner that sells tobacco."
The percentage of patients
who received prescriptions from Deonarine is "miniscule"
compared with his total number of patients, Lubin said.
This year, authorities in
Palm Beach County have linked OxyContin, a time-release synthetic pain
medication, to 36 deaths, 14 of which occurred in April. Abuse of
OxyContin, which is normally prescribed to patients with cancer and other
chronic pain, has become widespread.
Deonarine, the first
doctor in the county to be charged in connection with OxyContin
prescriptions, is being held on bail of $1 million. Authorities fear that
Deonarine, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, might flee the country. A
hearing to reduce his bail is scheduled for May 24, Lubin said.
At a news conference
this week, state attorney's investigators painted a picture that Deonarine
may be funneling money earned from doling out the drug to an offshore
account in Deonarine's name, Lubin said. That
account, Lubin said, was established 15 years before OxyContin was sold to
"There is not one
shred of evidence that any of the money was earned in an improper way.
This man works 16, 17, 18 hours a day. He has admitted thousand of
patients a day. The implication that he made his money by OxyContin is
Officials also said
Deonarine bought Jaguars and his home with cash, to which Lubin calls
"He is not charged
with money laundering, drug trafficking or homicide," Lubin said. The
prosecutors said he bought a Jaguar and didn't take a loan, and they said
he doesn't have a mortgage on his house. The man had been a doctor for
over 30 years, and God bless him if he can buy his home by writing a check
Deonarine after an agent, posing as a Vietnam veteran with knee pain,
visited the doctor's office and was given prescriptions without a complete
review of his history, prosecutors said.
C. Ron Allen can be
reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6611.