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DA: Doctor found guilty of overprescribing opioids that led to five deaths


Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly announced on Monday that a doctor, who was prescribing medications from the parking lot of his Rockville Centre hotel and a nearby Dunkin Donuts, has been sentenced to serve five to 15 years in prison.

Dr. George Blatti, 78, was arrested on April 18, 2019, following an investigation into prescription practices, which according to investigators, led to the deaths of five patients between 2016 and 2018.

He voluntarily surrendered his medical license to New York State authorities on June 24, 2019, after the investigation began. He later pled guilty to five felony counts of Manslaughter on Oct. 10, 2023.

Donnelly said the Nassau County Police Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit began its initial investigation into several opioid overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal in August 2018, which revealed certain individuals had an inordinate number of prescriptions for opioids written by the same physician.

NCPD then began jointly working with members of the DEA’s Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad on a follow-up investigation, which revealed that between 2016 and 2018, patients addicted opioids went to Blatti with requests for controlled medications and were prescribed thousands of pills including oxycodone, morphine, clonazepam, alprazolam, and oxycontin with no medical history or exam.

Law enforcement officials state that in some of the cases, he even prescribed opioid painkillers at patients’ request to individuals he had never met with or spoken to prior.

Based on the investigation, NCPD and the DEA found that Blatti met with customers out of a “makeshift” office in Franklin Square that was formerly a Radio Shack, and after losing access to the space, met patients in his car, where he prescribed medication from the parking lot of his Rockville Centre hotel or a nearby Dunkin Donuts.

Investigators also indicate that he managed to avoid the state’s secure electronic prescription system, which is generally required by medical professionals and provides greater oversight, by using paper prescriptions pursuant to a waiver issued by the New York State Health Commissioner.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino stated that Dr. Blatti’s disregard for his oath to do no harm, led to the deaths of five individuals on Long Island and harmed several others.

“DEA and our law enforcement partners have and will continue to bring to justice those who do the most harm, like Dr. Blatti and other drug traffickers,” Tarentino said in a statement.

Blatti is listed as a general practitioner. He was originally licensed to practice medicine in 1976 and has no specialized training or accreditation in pain management.

“This doctor prescribed massive quantities of dangerous drugs to victims exhibiting clear signs of addiction and other health emergencies,” District Attorney Donnelly said in a release. “His actions ultimately led to the deaths of five patients from drug overdose.”

Investigators determined that the overdose deaths of five patients — Geraldine Sabatasso, Michael Kinzer, Robert Mielinis, Sean Quigley and Diane Woodring — were a result of opioid painkillers prescribed by Blatti.

Geraldine Sabatasso, 50, began seeing Blatti in 2007 for pain following a neck surgery. In a six-and-a-half month span, she received 35 prescriptions for more than 4,000 pills. Sabatasso died on March 22, 2016, of acute oxycodone intoxication.

Michael Kinzer, 44, began seeing Blatti in 2013 and was treated with opioids for less than six months, during which time, he was provided more than 1,000 pills. He was hospitalized after suffering an overdose in October 2016, just days after seeing Blatti. Kinzer died on Nov. 17, 2016, only two days after he saw Blatti again, who prescribed him with alprazolam and oxycontin, two drugs that if combined can be fatal.

Robert Mielinis, 55, saw Blatti for approximately eight years. Investigators determined that he received three prescriptions for 90 oxycodone pills, 270 oxycodone pills and 240 alprazolam pills. The victim died 11 days later of mixed drug toxicity.

Prescription records indicate that MIelinis received 49 prescriptions from Blatti over a seven-month period for thousands of pills of the drugs alprazolam, oxycodone and Percocet. Investigators said that at one point, Blatti prescribed him nine times the recommended daily maximum dose of painkillers.

Sean Quigley, 31, a volunteer firefighter from Floral Park, struggled with opioid abuse dating back to at least 2008, according to investigators. In 2017, he was suffering from liver failure and retaining water. Records indicate that Blatti saw him once a month between June and November.

Despite signs of a failing liver, for which he was prescribed a diuretic and potassium supplement, Blatti continued to prescribe him 180 oxycodone pills. Quigley died 11 days later, on Dec. 2, 2017, from acute intoxication of oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Diane Woodring, 53 of Port Washington, died on Sept. 11, 2018, of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, alprazolam, mirtazapine and valproic acid, which were prescribed by Blatti.

“We entrust doctors with our care every day, assuming that their medical expertise and ethical oath to do no harm will ensure our health and safety,” Donnelly said in a release. “George Blatti did not live up to his oath. He failed his patients and caused inconceivable suffering to the their families.”

Donnelly continued, stating that Blatti’s sentencing is intended to send a strong message to communities across Long Island that continue to battle with the opioid epidemic: “If you overprescribe opioids and endanger patients, we will hold you accountable.”