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NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., INC.T. SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HON. PATRICE LUMUMBA, IN THE SPIRIT OF ERLIN CLEMENT SR., WALTER F. WRENN III., MD., JULIE KILLINGWORTH, LESLY POMPY MD., CHRISTOPHER RUSSO, MD., NANCY SEEFELDT, WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., NEIL ARNAND, MD., RICHARD KAUL, MD., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NJOKU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
“WE ARE NOT POWERLESS, AND THROUGH OUR VIDEOS, WRITINGS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS WE WILL EXPOSE THE ABUSES AND TYRANNY JUST AS THE VIDEO WAS RECORDED BY THE CELL PHONE CAMERA OF YOUNG DARNELLA FRAZIER, BORE WITNESS TO THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD THE BLOG youarewithinthenorms.com BARES WITNESS AND BOTH ALLOWS THE SYSTEM TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE”
“WE ARE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, NOT STREET DRUG DEALERS“
BY WALTER F. WRENN MD
HAVE YOU SEEN THESE PEOPLE
On February 17, 2021, I was arrested and incarcerated. I was charged with crimes supposedly committed while practicing medicine. All my life, I knew that as an intelligent black man, I was a target. Many times I had to overcome institutional racism that came in many forms. In Junior high school, I was told by a counselor that I should change my course of study from academic to a commercial or industrial one and go to Overbrook High School so I would be able to get a job when I finished high school.
This occurred because I wanted to go to Central High School an academically superior school where 98 percent of its students graduated from college. My father went to see the principal the next day. His visit completely embarrassed the counselor and the principal, and of course, I did attend and graduate from Central High School. How many black students like me have changed their futures by bad advice?
How many counselors looked at black students as future laborers rather than physicians and lawyers? Was the advice I got from my counselor racism or ignorance?
We will never know.
Getting arrested and thrown in jail was a traumatic experience. However, I always considered myself to be a law-abiding citizen.
I also went out of my way to make sure I dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. When prescribing controlled medication, I made sure the patient was seen and there was documentation in their chart. I made sure that when I went on vacation, the physician covering my practice would not prescribe any controlled medication to my patients. I made sure I had a written contract with my patients’ prescribed controlled medications. I did urine drug screens. I did pill counts. I dismissed patients who were non-compliant or where there was evidence of diversion.
I went to Somerset and the El to see if any of my patients were there doing illegal activity. I listened to and investigated patients when I was told by my patients that some were selling drugs. In other words, I went above and beyond what was required because I knew I was a target.
Yet in spite of these precautionary actions, I was arrested and charged with a crime.
Being unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, I was immediately at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, my family also were unfamiliar, and as a result, bad outcomes were the result.
My daughter got the first recommended lawyer, who returned her call. The fee for negotiating my bail was $5000.00. She lived in Decatur, Georgia, and I was charged in Pennsylvania. Since I lived and was arrested in NJ, I had to be extradited to Pennsylvania. In a previous legal encounter with the federal government legal system, I went to the federal building with my attorney, was processed, and went home to await trial. Why wasn’t this process followed in my case? Was it racism?
My color hadn’t changed since 1980, when I had my previous encounter with the criminal justice system. Was this part of a tactic to achieve what seemed to be the goal of the prosecutor? Namely to put me out of business and secure a plea deal and keep his conviction rate high. The eventual outcome of my case would indicate that that was the goal.
LOOKING AT MY CASE
Let’s look at the case which led to my arrest. I had a 55-year-old white female I had treated for more than 20 years. I saw her on March 1, 2019. She has been prescribed the same medication, same dose, and same quantity she has been taking since 2014. She picked up her medicine on March 2, 2019.
She died on March 3, 2019. Toxicology showed she had cocaine in her system at the time of death. The prosecutor was able to find a physician who wrote that it was the combination of my medication, Oxycodone, Morphine Sulfate ER, Xanax, and Restoril, and the cocaine that caused her death.
A simple Google inquiry would show that the cocaine was the cause of death and not my prescribed medication. Cocaine and opiates do not work synergistically. That fact and that fact alone should have eliminated the charges of Drug Delivery Resulting In Death and involuntary manslaughter.
However, as I found out that truth and facts were not on trial, I was. Why? Was it because the prosecutors believed I was responsible for the death of my patient, or was it because of a collaboration between the prosecutor and the insurance company?
To answer that question, we would have to subpoena the correspondence between the prosecutor and Keystone First Insurance Company. We know from the criminal complaint and the expert witness report. Keystone First Insurance Company reported that I was the number one prescriber of benzodiazepines at about 77,000.
The nearest prescriber prescribed 33,000 benzodiazepines. I later found out that this combination of medications was considered to be part of the deadly triad and therefore considered dangerous. Had anyone asked me I could have told them that I had researched this prior to prescribing the combination and there were no clinical trials to prove that the combination was dangerous.
In addition, I had been prescribing this combination for 11 years without any adverse events. Had a careful evaluation of my patient been done they would also have discovered that she had several referrals as well as an MRI of her cervical and lumbar spine. She had surgery on her lumbar spine which resulted in her developing foot drop and urinary and bowel incontinence and an increase in her pain.
Over the 20 years of her treatment, I gradually and carefully increased her opiate pain medication. Finally, she stabilized on Oxycodone 20 my every 4 hours, Morphine Sulfate ER 90 every 12 hours, Xanax 2 mg every 8 hours, and Restoril 30mg at bedtime. She took this medication without any adverse events until March 3, 2019, when she combined it with cocaine.
Remember I mentioned that I was not familiar with the criminal justice system. Even though I hired an attorney, I was still at a disadvantage. When I was released from jail, it was with the condition that I surrender my medical license, my DEA license, and my passport and agree not to practice medicine anymore.
When I was released, I was given a paper indicating that I had a preliminary hearing on March 15, 2021. Not knowing anything about the importance of a preliminary hearing, I agreed to the conditions set forth by the prosecutor. To get the plea agreement, I had to waive my preliminary hearing.
What I didn’t realize at the time and what my attorney never told me was that the preliminary hearing was the only venue where I could question the charges and possibly get some or all discharged. Why then would my attorney let me agree to this? There may be a logical reason or a more sinister one.
Since the plea agreement eliminated jail time and the reason to go to trial so I wouldn’t go to jail, what was there to gain? The other is that my attorney would not have to prepare a case by accepting the plea deal. Was it a deal that favored me or the prosecutor and my attorney?
Logically you may say we all got something. I say the prosecutor still has his job. My attorney still has his career. However, as part of the plea deal, of no jail time, a $2000.00 fine, and five years probation, I had to give up my medical license and thus don’t have my job.
What then are the consequences of the actions taken against me. My 27 patients who were on opiate pain medication could not find a physician who would treat them. 2 of my patients who were on Suboxone for opiate addiction relapsed and died. My patients treated for other medical conditions had to find another doctor.
LOW HANGING FRUIT
Many still don’t feel they are getting the same treatment as me. Keystone First Insurance Company is spending some $33,000.00 less than when I was practicing.
Again I ask the question??? Was this racism or bad policy?
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Walter F. Wrenn III M.D.
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN
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