Pubdate: Sat, 02 Mar 2002
Source: Connecticut Post (CT)
Copyright: 2002sMediaNews Group, Inc
Author: Daniel Tepfer
Bookmark: (Oxycontin)


BRIDGEPORT -- Taking the stand in his own defense, Dr. Dudley Hall on 
Friday blamed President George W. Bush, former president Ronald 
Reagan, the nation's medical establishment and his secretary for the 
charges he faces of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics.

While the 41-year-old Hall, nicknamed "Dr. Feelgood" by police, 
readily admitted he prescribed the pain killers to patients he never 
examined, under questioning by his lawyer, H. Jeffrey Beck, he 
challenged the state's contention he did anything illegal.

"There is so much wrong with pain management in this country. They 
come in with the preconception that these patients are dishonest," 
Hall testified. "I believe patients should be treated with respect, I 
have seen many people who you couldn't find a specific finding to 
explain the pain but they had pain."

But under cross-examination by Assistant State's Attorney Jack 
Whelan, Hall became flustered.

Shuffling through papers on the witness box, the doctor admitted 
prescribing OxyContin to an undercover police officer who came to his 
Main Street office complaining about minor back pain.

"Did it ever occur to you to suggest that he use a heating pad?" 
Whelan asked the doctor.

"No," Hall responded.

Hall is being tried in Superior Court on 36 counts of illegally 
prescribing narcotics.

The state claims that Hall prescribed more than 70,000 pills in a 
seven-month period to Medicare and Medicaid patients. Police believe 
Hall's patients were a major source of local street sales of the 
powerful painkiller OxyContin.

Four undercover officers who posed as patients testified that Hall 
doled out prescriptions for OxyContin, Percocet, Ambien, Xanax and 
other controlled substances without examining them or even discussing 
their pain complaints. The four returned to the doctor on a weekly or 
bi-weekly basis and each time -- for a $50 fee -- received 
prescriptions that should have lasted a month.

The soft-spoken Hall, a 1982 graduate of MIT and a 1987 graduate of 
Tufts Medical School, opened a practice in Bridgeport in 1990, 
saying, "I hoped to have an impact on this community."

But Hall, staring at the jury, said that a ruling by the Reagan 
administration burdened him with a school loan with 20 percent 
interest. When he couldn't repay the loan, the state Department of 
Human Services barred him from treating Medicare and Medicaid 
patients, a major part of his practice. Then insurance companies 
began refusing to reimburse him for treatment, he said, adding that 
he was finally forced to continue his practice on a cash-only basis.

Then, he said, when George Bush was elected president, "it was a time 
for police powers to go wild."

He contended that police conspired with his former secretary to 
entrap him because he was issuing a large number of prescriptions for 

He said he doesn't feel it is necessary to examine a patient before 
prescribing medication if the patient assures him he is in pain and 
has been taking the medication even if it had not been originally 
prescribed for them.

"I tend to believe what the patient tells me unless it is proven that 
the patient has lied and abused medication," he said.

Whelan pointed out that all four undercover officers returned to 
Hall's office well before their original prescriptions ran out, 
stating they needed more.

Signifying they were taking twice the dosage Hall had prescribed. One 
officer testified he told the doctor he had used the two-week supply 
in four days.

But Hall tried to brush that off, saying the patients had a better 
idea of how much medication they need. He also said he wasn't focused 
on when the officers should have come back for refills, saying that 
he relied on pharmacies to determine if his patients were coming in 
too early for refills.

Testimony is to continue Monday before the six-person jury and Judge 
Michael Hartmere.
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