Florida man sentenced in pill mill case

A Florida man was sentenced to 44 months in prison and three years of supervised release for unlawfully operating a pill mill in Georgia that made over $1.8 million.

Marc Frazier was also ordered to give up assets of more than $500,000 from the pill mill. The “pain management clinic” known as Apex Health & Wellness was owned by Frazier from November 2011 to April 2013. Prosecutors said that customers received prescriptions for controlled substances when there was no valid medical purpose, often paying up to $300 in cash to the clinic for the prescriptions.

Frazier hired medical doctor Paul Ruble to work at the clinic. Ruble is awaiting sentencing on similar charges after pleading guilty.

According to authorities, during the 17 months that the clinic operated, an average of 30 patients per day received prescriptions for alprazolam and oxycodone. Prosecutors said that more than 400 deposits were made to the pain clinic’s bank account, totaling over $1.8 million.

In addition to facing criminal charges, medical providers who prescribe drugs improperly and cause patients harm may face civil liability in the form of a lawsuit for pharmaceutical negligence. Anyone who has been injured by a pill mill or an error made by a doctor or pharmacist should consult with an attorney.

Florida appeals court sides with Tampa General Hospital in medical malpractice case

An appeals court upheld a ruling shielding Tampa General Hospital from potential medical malpractice liability in a case over a patient who died during surgery.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by a circuit judge granting summary judgment to Tampa General Hospital. The appeals court agreed with the judge on the central issue of whether two doctors involved in the surgery were connected to the hospital. Tampa General argued that the doctors were employed by the University of South Florida, and the hospital had delegated its duty of care and any potential liability to the university. The university’s College of Medicine uses Tampa General as its primary teaching hospital.

The lawsuit was filed by the estate of Annie Godwin against the university, Tampa General, and the two physicians, after Godwin died during surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in 2009. Godwin died due to heavy bleeding after she suffered a tear in a vein.

According to the three-judge appeals panel, there were no disputed facts undermining the conclusion of the trial court that the doctors were not employees or agents of Tampa General Hospital. The appeals court said that the physicians were employees of USF, and Godwin had signed a document acknowledging that fact.