In a bizarre case, a Georgia doctor initially charged with injecting patients with commercial-grade weed killer has been sentenced to five years of probation -- but not for that alleged act.
Totada R. Shanthaveerappa, 73, had been treating terminally ill patients at a clinic in Stockbridge, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He had been suspended by the Georgia medical board after being indicted in 2005. In October Shanthaveerappa had pleaded guilty to defrauding insurance companies of $650,000 for submitting false and misleading claims.
When it was time for sentencing, the U.S. District Court Judge gave Shanthaveerappa credit for the 400 days he has already served in home confinement, and granted him a probated sentence, reports the Journal-Constitution. He could have gotten 24 to 30 months in prison.
As to the more disturbing charge of poisoning patients? Shanthaveerappa was accused of illegally injecting patients with Dinitrophenol (DNP), a weed killer and insecticide. The patients were said to suffer from Lyme disease, but apparently authorities could not find evidence that they were actually harmed by the bizarre procedure.
The case is frightening because, obviously, people have a deep need to trust their doctors. But stepping back a moment, it makes one ponder how wise it is to surround ourselves with toxic chemicals to try to solve life's everyday problems. In Europe the idea of green chemistry is very hot, with the goals of working towards products that are truly benign.
Although one wouldn't think it would be necessary, keeping toxic chemicals out of reach of rogues, whether suicide bomber or thrill-seeking teen, meth maker or even disturbed doctor is almost like keeping conventional cleaning supplies away from a baby. If we create a less toxic world, maybe we'll all be a little safer.
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