Daniel Baldi, a physician that helped run a pain management clinic, has been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in the deaths of 8 people. Included is Slipknot's Paul Gray, who was found dead in a hotel in 2010. According to the Des Moines Register, the documents released allege that Dr. Baldi “did unintentionally cause the death of Paul Gray by the commission of an act likely to cause death or serious injury, to-wit, continually wrote high-dose prescription narcotics to a known drug addict from 12/27/2005 until his death.”
In the documents, 7 of 8 of the deceased were listed, including Paul Gray. In addition, the other people are Chad Martin (Sept. 16, 2011), Frederick Pritchard (May 29, 2011), Carla Davis (Feb. 25, 2011), Jason Spong (Sept. 16, 2010), Stoutenberg (Sept. 11, 2010), and Jeff Lilly (Aug. 21, 2009). The final person who is not listed is believed to be Kathleen Cronkwright (October, 2010). You may wonder why I included everyone here. I did it because it is tragic, no matter who they are and no matter if they happen to be famous, drug addicts, or anything like that. It also shows a patter for Dr. Baldi. This is a lot of people to be considered a fluke.
Some family members of the other people have come forward to say that Baldi should have known that the patients were habitual drug abusers and taken steps to prevent their deaths and especially stop prescribing large amounts of prescription narcotics. Some patients allegedly only saw the doctor once each; however in at least one case, a family member has stepped forward to say that they personally accompanied the patients to his office on more than one occasion.
Now, here's the thing. Generally, I'm all about personal accountability. And in this case, I am still in support of it; however, I believe that physicians have a lawful duty and a moral obligation to not take advantage of or feed into drug addiction. With prescription drug abuse spiking, it is more important than ever that they are cognizant of it, especially when dealing with someone who is a know drug addict (specifically, it was not a secret that Gray struggled with drug problems). Sure, I don't think he should be charged with murder, but involuntary manslaughter seems to fit. It will not help the 8 patients referenced in this case, but it could protect patients that may have seen him in the future and will make other physicians aware that they need to be safer and more cognizant of their patients' needs.
Slipknot has released the following statement after the charges were announced:
“As the loss of our brother Paul Gray is still very fresh for us in the Slipknot family, this new development has us all in a state of anger and sadness. The fact that this person took advantage of our brother’s illness while he was in a position to help others has outraged everyone in our family.
"We can only hope that justice will be served so this can NEVER happen to anyone else ever again! Our thoughts go out to the families of the other victims. We plan to cooperate as much as we possibly can to ensure this tragedy is never repeated, and to make sure this man pays for what he has done."
View the original Des Moines Register article here.