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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — A Pittsburgh area doctor has been arrested on charges he caused the deaths of two patients by overprescribing opioids.
Pennsylvania prosecutors Friday charged Dr. Michel Toret with drug delivery resulting in death for the overdoses of 26-year-old Heather Dervin and 30-year-old Glenn Morgan last year.
Toret’s lawyer says the 71-year-old physician didn’t violate standards of care and intends to defend himself against the charges.
Prosecutors say an investigation started in late 2016 after one of the doctor’s employees reported that he was prescribing large amounts of opioids. Officer manager Brittney Finnegan tells KDKA’s Ross Guidotti she confronted the doctor over some of the things she was seeing in the officer and was quickly rebuked.
“He basically said he was a doctor, he knew what he was doing, and I did not, and that was not my place to say something,” said Finnegan.
According to the criminal complaint, “the practice does not have a blood pressure cuff that works; although, they have numerous patients diagnosed with high blood pressure.” It also “described typical office visits as being weighed by the nurse and obtaining prescriptions for narcotics in about two minutes from Dr. Toret.”
“It was not a very long examination, about 10, 15 minutes max and they would leave with whatever they wanted. Even when they didn’t bring any extra medical records in,” Finnegan said.
Dervin overdosed about a week after getting methadone from Toret. Morgan’s death in a Kansas hotel room occurred days after Toret prescribed him oxymorphone.
The criminal complaint reports that “after learning of Heather Dervin’s death, Toret made the comment ‘9 junkies die in Pennsylvania every day” and “you girls don’t like birth control, so that keeps the population going.”
Finnegan says she’s relieved following Toret’s arrest.
“I feel relieved something was done,” she said. “I feel that justice definitely needs to be served. I feel like he needs to pay for what he did.”
Toret gave up his right to prescribe drugs after his office in North Huntington was searched last year.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)