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Paul Gray of Slipknot
© AP / Paul Gray of Slipknot
Slipknot co-founder's doctor charged with 8 counts of manslaughter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines doctor faces involuntary manslaughter charges for allegedly prescribing large amounts of narcotic painkillers to eight patients who fatally overdosed, including a metal band's founder.

Dr. Daniel Baldi appeared Wednesday in Polk County District Court, and a judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, The Des Moines Register reported. Involuntary manslaughter is an aggravated misdemeanor under Iowa law.

One of the eight patients was identified in court papers as Paul Gray, a founder of the band Slipknot. He died of an overdose in 2010 at an Urbandale hotel.

Bing: More on Slipknot's Paul Gray

Court documents allege that Baldi unintentionally caused Gray's death by writing "high-dose prescription narcotics to a known drug addict" starting on Dec. 27, 2005.

Defense attorney Guy Cook said bringing criminal charges "is wrong" and Baldi would fight the charges.

"It is unprecedented to turn unfortunate deaths or medical results into a crime against a doctor," Cook said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press.

"Unexpected deaths can occur in severe, chronic pain patients unrelated to medical treatment. This is especially true with patients who are drug addicts or drug abusers," Cook said.

Cook said five of the charges involved overdoses of admitted drug addicts, and two charges involved patients seen only once by Baldi.

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The Register said Baldi faces four medical malpractice lawsuits, including three wrongful death suits. The three deaths in those lawsuits were among the eight cited in the criminal charges.

The Iowa Board of Medicine filed administrative charges against Baldi last month. The board alleges that he prescribed large quantities of narcotics and other addictive drugs without properly assessing patients' needs for the medications.

Baldi helped run an Iowa Health System treatment clinic in Des Moines, which closed at the end of June. Iowa Health officials have said they suspended Baldi from his job. They recently said that they no longer would comment about him, The Register said.

There is increasing national concern about abuse of narcotic painkillers and other prescription drugs.

17Comments
Sep 6, 2012 6:09AM
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Please visit sign the Petition. We are families that have joined together to bring about awareness and help educate the public the truth behind Methadone. Whether from Doctors, Clinics or by Diversion Methadone deaths have become an epidemic across the USA. Help us to spread the message you may save a life.
Sep 6, 2012 4:17AM
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I have been in severe pain (both acute and chronic) since 1990 from a slip and fall while on vacation, breaking my tail bone and come to find out I had birth defects on L4 and L5.To date I've had 5 surgeries 3 of which where fusions. Thanks to patients and doctors like this it is becoming extremely difficult to get the proper pain medications for my pain. The last three years I was lucky if I got 24-36 nights sleep and I have to cut my pills in half in order to make them last through the day and night. In the past two years the DEA and states have been coming down on any doctors that prescribe any type of pain meds even though the increased effort to come down on these pain doctors was not suppose to effect the people who need the pain meds. From 1990 - 2009 I was able to get enough pain meds to make it through the day and night 6-8 percocet and 2 Oxycontin a day. Those days are over even if you need that amount of pain meds, Today I can only get 3-30 mg Oxycodone a day. My pain management doctor has told my that the DEA and the state has put a limit on how many pills a month any patient can get and is afraid to prescribe any more than this amount. When the weather changes I don't go outside, Low pressure kills me, it puts me in bed for up to 3-5 days, I can no longer fly due to the cabin pressure, If I need to see my back surgeon I have to drive up to 10 hours. The Laser Spine Institute will not touch my back due to prior surgeries, arthritis,bone spurs and scare tissue. So the doctors that prescribe like this should have there license pulled and the patients who die from misusing there pain meds get what they where looking for 
Sep 6, 2012 4:05AM
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I am familiar with Dr. Baldi and he was not just known by drug addicts seeking narcotics.  He was also highly respected by patients who had severe chronic pain, and had pursued every avenue attempting to seek relief.  A doctor assesses his patients accordingly and a good share of their assessment is subjective information supplied by the patient.  With todays guidelines for pain managment no patient should have to suffer.  The patients know this and if they are  denied medication to relieve their pain the provider is again at fault.  Patients are asked to rate their pain on a scale of 1-10 and the provider is obligated to medicate accordingly.  Many of Dr. Baldi patients were on a contract which made it impossible to go from one institution to another seeking narcotics.  As a provider, Dr Baldi did his job as a pain specialist.  As patients, these folks failed.  They did as many addicts do and double up on dosages, having the "more the better attitude"; oftentimes they consumed alcohol when taking their medication, and many addicts also buy street drugs to enhance their supply.  Dr Baldi did what all providers are required to do and that is to treat the patient and their symptoms.  Unfortunately, his licensure was in the hands of some not so worthy patients who he credited as being truthful and were not.  Many of the patients seen by Dr Baldi were referred by other providers who had attempted to manage their patients pain until the patient required much larger doses.  The provider then became scared about the amount being prescribed by them and consults a pain specialist such as Baldi to assume care.  Scapegoat ?????  Yes!
Sep 6, 2012 2:22AM
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Why is Baldi a D.O, Anesthesiology,  prescribing painkillers to start with ? Over prescribing painkillers is more common in the last 10-15 years in the United States the reason being is simple...GREED. Doctors and big Pharm Co's have built a mutli billion dollar industry off of Methadone alone. Methadone no longer treats only addictions it was put on the market as pain medication in the last decade, also. Finally doctors are being held accountable for the deaths of their patients. Some have stooped low enough to sell  opiates out of the trunks of their cars in parking lots. Please visit as we bring awareness and help educate the public. Families of lost loved ones have joined together as the voices of our children io help save lives. Please sign the Petition share your story to help stop these untimely deaths.

Sep 6, 2012 12:47AM
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Being a pain-specialist has to be a tough, but lucrative gig. Some of these guys want to do it right and still reap the benefits. Some of them just want the benefits. Some see so many benefits pouring in that they feel like they just can't get enough so they cut corners, they cheat and the break the law. Sounds a lot like the addicts that they help create. When done properly, pain relief doctors are a Godsend. When done wrong, you end up with dead patients, severe addicts who don't know where to turn and problems with the law and with angry patients who feel they have nothing to lose. I've watched family deal with the good and the bad when it comes to this dangerous area of medicine. I watched my mother-in-law doped up so badly that she wouldn't get out of bed or life her life. Sure, she didn't have any pain, but she couldn't reap the benefits in her real life. She eventually had to get out because her doctor was arrested for killing a patient. Eventually, her doctor was able to practice again, but not at the level she was, and she paid some fines. There are horror stories out there much worse, but I have limited time and space. Not all of these doctors are slimy back-door dealers who just want your money and your bodies to fill with there money-making poisons. Some are good guys who want to help you, genuinely. It comes down to finding the right one, and sometimes it's just luck finding the right one. Good Luck.
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