Rochester doctor indicted for manslaughter after opioids overdose leads to death of patient

Monroe County

FILE – This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of prescription oxycodone pills in New York. U.S. health officials are again warning doctors against abandoning chronic pain patients by abruptly stopping their opioid prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services instead urged doctors Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, to share such decisions with patients. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester doctor was indicted by New York Attorney General Letitia James for manslaughter and other felonies related to the overdose death of a patient. Sudipt Deshmukh, 55, of Pittsford was indicted for second degree manslaughter.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, Desmukh was a primary care physician who prescribed a lethal mix of opioids and other controlled substances that resulted in the overdose death of a patient who Desmukh knew struggled with addiction.

Deshmukh was also charged with two counts of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, as related to two patients, and six counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance or of a Controlled Substance by a Practitioner or Pharmacist for over prescribing high doses of powerful opioid pain killers.

Deshmukh was also charged with Health Care Fraud in the Fourth Degree for causing Medicare, through its contractor Cigna Medicare Healthcare Rx, to pay for the medically unnecessary prescriptions that ultimately contributed to his patient’s overdose death.

“Doctors have an obligation to help their patients heal, not drive them deeper into the depths of addiction,” Attorney General James said in a statement. “It’s unconscionable that a doctor would prescribe a dangerous cocktail of opioids and other controlled substances to a patient known to be struggling with addiction. As New York continues to fight against the ravages of the opioid epidemic, we will continue to take the necessary measures to root out entities that fuel this crisis through ruthless greed.”

A grand jury handed up an indictment in Monroe County, which was unsealed on Thursday, alleging, in the Reckless Endangerment counts, that between 2006 and 2016, Deshmukh was aware of and fostered his patients’ addictions and ignored his professional responsibilities. Without any legitimate medical purposes, Deshmukh prescribed dangerous combinations of opioid pain killers and other controlled substances, including hydrocodone, Oxycontin, oxycodone, Zohydro, methadone, morphine, Opana, and fentanyl, the benzodiazepine alprazolam (a sedative also known as Xanax), and carisprodol (a muscle relaxer also known as Soma) without regard to the risks of death associated with such high levels and dangerous combinations of those drugs.

The case will be calendared in Monroe County Court for arraignment on a date to be set by the Court.

The top charge against Deshmukh is a class C felony, with a maximum sentence of 5-15 years imprisonment.

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