Former Doctor, 75, Pleads Guilty to Illegal Narcotics Distribution

Small-City Physician Gave Prescription Meds to Girlfriend Who Didn't Need Them

Yahoo Contributor Network

Former physician Nolan Denny Crisp, 75, pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges he illegally wrote prescription medications in Bolivar, Mo. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri press release states Crisp was "handing out illegal prescriptions to so-called patients, including a girlfriend and clients he met in the parking lot." The former doctor was employed at the Pomme de Terre Wellness Center, also known as the Bolivar Family Wellness Clinic. Although Crisp pleaded guilty to just one federal count, details in the case are much more tragic.

* The Springfield News-Leader reveals part of the problem was that the medical professional's own staff thought something was amiss when Crisp met people and gave out prescriptions in the parking lot, even though they weren't patients at the clinic.

* The clinic also filed police reports because so many patients claimed prescription medications were lost or stolen. When word spread Crisp was "generous with narcotics prescriptions," people would park in the church parking lot across the street to wait for more meds.

* The federal indictment was handed down July 24. By pleading guilty, the former doctor admitted he wrote illegal prescriptions for OxyContin, Oxycodone Hydrochloride and Oxycodone-Aspirin for a patient with whom he was having a sexual relationship. The federal attorney's office states the person had "no legitimate medical need" for the powerful painkillers.

* During Crisp's tenure at the Bolivar clinic from June 2009 to Nov. 10, 2010, there were 96 overdose incidents at Citizens Memorial Hospital. Of those, 29 were connected to the former doctor's care, a rate of around 30 percent. Of those 29 cases, six patients died under Crisp's care.

* The Department of Justice used a pain management specialist to review files for Crisp's use of prescription painkillers. For 20 patients, the specialist said the former doctor's treatment was "reckless, dangerous, life-threatening, and inconsistent with sound medical practice."

* A search of Missouri Case Net court records indicates six medical malpractice or tort cases against Crisp from October 2007 to October 2012. Half of those cases were dismissed. Another three have yet to be decided.

* Crisp also faces several state charges revolving around the abuse of a health care patient and possessing a controlled substance that is not 35 grams or less of marijuana. He faces nine counts of drug possession, seven counts of patient abuse and one count of deviate sexual assault. All are class C felonies in Missouri and stem from charges filed in 2011 and 2012.

* A sentencing hearing will be held later in federal court. Crisp faces up to 20 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole plus a fine of up to $1 million. As of this writing, the former doctor has not been held accountable in civil court for any possible wrongful deaths under his care.

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

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