When an error in medication is made, patients who are already suffering from ailments can suffer fatal results. Medical malpractice lawsuits can result from injuries caused by over or under medication, giving a patient incorrect medication, or other types of prescription errors. One physician from Clay, New York was charged in February 2012 for negligently prescribing drugs to patients for years without ever actually seeing them and for abusing drugs and alcohol himself.
In November, Beals was used by federal prosecutors because he was not able to account for 21 bottles of prescription drugs that were delivered to his office. Prosecutors had been seeking a fine of up to $615,000. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating Beals after he placed an order for 5,000 hydrocodone pills and 1,100 zolpidem pills between March 2010 and January 2013. When investigators demanded purchase, dispensing, or destruction records for the drugs, Beals was not able to provide them. He was not able to account for where those drugs were in any way.
When DEA investigators inspected Beals’ office earlier in February, they were told by Beals that he did not store prescription drugs in his office. He also told them that he only prescribed them for his patients. When he was questioned by investigators a week later he was unable to account for the 6,100 tablets of hydrocodone and zolpidem that he had ordered from the manufacturer. He claimed to have flushed the medication.
Beals was disciplined in September by the state health department for abusing drugs and alcohol between January 2010 and February 2013. He admitted guilt and signed an agreement with the state. Beals was also accused by the state of failing to maintain records for dispensing the hydrocodone and zolpidem.
Last year, a state court jury found that Beals’ negligence in treating coach and teacher Joseph Mazella, to commit suicide. Mazella’s family was awarded $1.5 million by the jury for Beals’ overmedicating Mazella on an antidepressant.
Dr. William Beals has paid $60,000 for violating laws that restrict the use of controlled substances he was able to obtain as a physician. He has also agreed to voluntarily surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration number. This number allowed him to prescribe controlled substances. This settlement was made in December and Beals’ final payment was made three weeks ago.
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