Friday, October 8, 2010
Rant #350: They Got Their Man
Many months ago I told you about the saga of my doctor, who was picked up for selling drugs to cops working undercover as teenagers to buy prescription drugs from him.
His medical practice was right across the street from the local high school, and he had been pegged by authorities as the distributor of oxycodone, a powerful, addictive drug, to teenagers without prescriptions.
Well, yesterday, the authorities got their man.
My former doctor, Dr. Saji Francis, was sentenced to six months in jail for his indiscretions.
The sorry thing is that he could have gotten two years, which is what prosectors were going for. What's more, under state law, he could have received a maximum five-year sentence.
And as I surmised, he basically plea bargained his deal down to the bare minimum. He supposedly gave up his medical license--which, according to someone I spoke to in Albany, where the state government does business, is not true, since he keeps the "Dr." before his name--the building that he practiced in--which has a "For Sale" shingle in front of it again after months of inactivity--and some other things.
What's more, since he is not a naturalized citizen, he may also be deported back to his native India when his sentence is over.
In a statement the prosecutors read yesterday, one mother described the pain at seeing her son, who she claims rarely took aspirin before visiting with Dr. Francis, become addicted to oxycodone and die of a heart attack at a young age.
Francis was reported to have said to the judge while being sentenced, "I do not make any excuses for my conduct. I apologize to anyone I hurt. I lost everything."
Yes, he did, but this monster could conceivably get out of jail and practice again ... as long as he has that "Dr." in front of his name.
I just don't get it. Maybe I am not understanding what happened, but he supposedly gave up his medical license, which I was told is simply not true.
And yes, I still can't get my medical records from him, and I was told that since he is still a doctor, even if I could get them, he would be able to charge me per page for them--since he is a doctor. And since my medical records go back nearly 40 years ... well, a week's salary probably wouldn't be enough to get them all back.
Now, if this makes sense to you, you are better than me. Heck, even the attorney generals of the state and Nassau County, where I live and where Francis practiced, told me they couldn't help me.
I can't make sense of it; maybe you can.
But at least this guy is off the streets, unable to sell any more of this crap to kids or anyone else.
I am going to be honest with you. I liked Dr. Francis. He had a great personality, and seemed to be a fine doctor.
I personally never had any trouble with him, although myself and my wife did notice some odd tendencies with him from time to time.
There was one point where he basically gave up his practice and went into holistic medicine. When you went there for an appointment, he talked to you more than he did anything else for you.
This went on for a few months, but then I thought he saw the light, and his practice steered away from holistics and got back to the everyday medicine people counted on him to practice.
He was very flighty, talking about golf as much as what ailed you.
But he seemed to have a booming practice. He also had a high rate of elderly patients.
Why he did what he did is beyond me. I guess he became greedy, totally enamored of his own success, and wanted more.
I feel for his family. He has a few young kids. I think of what they will go through for the next six months and probably for the rest of their lives, especially if their father is deported.
We were all let down by this doctor. It took my wife and I several months to find another one.
We are confident that this doctor is A-OK, but I have to tell you, after the experience with Dr. Francis, there will always be some doubt in my mind that about whether my doctor is doing the right thing.
And that really hurts.
Posted by Larry at 3:54 AM