At least seven people died of drug overdoses from painkillers prescribed by Dr. David C. Kirkwood of the Kirkwood Family Practice, according to a recent 20-count federal indictment of Kirkwood and his wife.
In October 2012, federal and state agents served a search warrant at the 2838 Linden Ave. office run by Kirkwood and his wife, Beverly, in what Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine then called a year-long investigation into a suspected “pill mill.” DEA agents were seen removing boxes of what appeared to be records.
David Kirkwood, 59, and Beverly Kirkwood, 47, were indicted last week on numerous counts of conspiracy and distributing prescription pills and health care fraud. According to the indictment filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court, Kirkwood would charge $100 per office visit and “examine” 60 to 100 patients per day. The couple is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 30.
The indictment states that the object of the conspiracy was “to make as much money as possible by distributing and dispensing controlled substances such as diazepam, carisoprodol, methadone, opana, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and alprazolam, to patients, other drug users, and conspirators.”
The drugs were dispensed in Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, according to the court document.
Those who died of overdoses from Kirkwood’s prescriptions are Eula Hoskins, Deborah Goff, Ronald Jackson, Tyrone Redavide, Gregory Spurlock, Norma Shepherd and Gary Durham, according to court documents.
The indictment states: Hoskins was prescribed drugs March 26, 2007 and was found dead three days later; Goff was prescribed drugs May 13, 2008 and was found dead two days later; Jackson was prescribed drugs Dec. 19, 2008 and was found dead four days later; Redavide was prescribed drugs Dec. 8, 2008 and was found dead 12 days later; Spurlock was prescribed drugs May 26 and May 28, 2009 and was found dead two days later; Durham was prescribed drugs June 27, 2011 and was found dead three days later.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records show the Kirkwoods face or have faced numerous medical malpractice cases, mortgage foreclosures, certificates of judgments, garnishments and liens.
In March 2012, the administrator of Shepherd’s estate filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Kirkwood. That lawsuit said Shepherd first became a patient of Kirkwood’s in 2007 when she was prescribed OxyContin and Percocet for pain from a degenerative disk disease.
On March 24, 2011, Shepherd filled prescriptions for methadone and the muscle relaxant carisoprodol; she was found dead March 26, 2011 and a coroner’s report found “multiple drug intoxication,” according to court documents.
Messages left with the assistant U.S. attorneys prosecuting the case were not returned Wednesday. Efforts to reach the Kirkwoods’ attorneys and the Kirkwoods were also unsuccessful.
Kirkwood earned a degree in medicine from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in 1983, received his Ohio medical license in 1984 and opened his practice in November 1986, according to court documents.
Court documents allege Dr. Kirkwood provided large amounts of prescription medications to customers he knew were drug addicts or who were diverting or selling the medication, that most customers received, at most, a cursory examination and that insurance payments from health care insurances were accepted. The affidavit also alleged the Kirkwoods became aware that the vast number of their customers were drug addicts.
At the time of the raid, DeWine said the Health Care Fraud Unit, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General were all involved.
“Prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem in Ohio, and we will aggressively investigate any medical facility that shows signs of suspected drug diversion,” DeWine said in 2012. “Too many Ohioans have died from abusing improperly prescribed pills. We don’t want any more families to suffer.”