Last week’s post discussed the unfortunately commonplace issue of health care nurses becoming addicted to drugs and other banned substances due to the conditions of their work. However, nurses are not the only medical professions who may succumb to drug addictions and other problems. Just recently a doctor in Pittsburgh pleaded guilty to federal charges for his alleged involvement in the illegal distribution of drugs to non-patients.

The doctor was working at Suboxone clinic in Washington, Pennsylvania, when the alleged misconduct began. He and several other individuals began writing illegal prescriptions for drugs and then giving them to other individuals. He also admitted to defrauding health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid for his financial benefit.

As a result of his alleged conduct he was charged with unlawfully distributing controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and health care fraud. These federal crimes carry with them serious consequences and now the doctor may face more than 10 years in jail for his apparent involvement in criminal activity.

Individuals have different options for how to plead when they face criminal charges. With any luck this individual was able to discuss his legal rights and options with an attorney before entering a guilty plea. Guilty pleas effectively admit guilt on the part of alleged assailants and can expose them to ongoing legal problems. However, every medical professional that is charged with federal crimes deserves their own legal counsel. Attorneys who represent doctors, nurses and other medical staff can guide their clients through the messy world of the criminal federal courts and their clients’ options for protecting their careers and futures.