News of the Day ... in Perspective5/24/2004
Doctor acquitted, but life ruined anyway
After a five-year battle to prove himself not guilty of murder, drug dealing, or Medi-Cal fraud, Frank Fisher, M.D., a 50-year-old family physician, has lost his practice, his home, and his other assets.
Last week, a Sacramento jury acquitted Dr. Fisher on all 8 misdemeanor counts of defrauding Medi-Cal. “It just felt like they were on a witch hunt to me,” stated juror Marty Glassett.
In February, 1999, California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, in office for just a month, called a press conference to announce that he was saving Redding from saturation with highly addictive pain medications by arresting Dr. Fisher. Murder counts were filed because three patients were said to have died of OxyContin overdoses. Dr. Miller spent 5 months in jail, with bail set at $15 million, higher than that for a Colombian drug lord.
All of the murder charges were baseless and were thrown out.
“It usually starts with a body, then they look for a perpetrator,” Dr. Fisher said. “In this case they developed a theory of a murder case and started looking for bodies.”
Dr. Fisher’s family practice consisted of some 3000 patients, about 5 to 10% of whom sought relief for chronic pain.
Now that the criminal charges have been adjudicated, the Medical Board of California intends to try to revoke Dr. Fisher’s medical license. (Sacramento Bee,5/23/04, www.sacbee.com).