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The Tennessean Publishes Article on Doctor with 5 Overdose Deaths Moving to Indiana

By Jack H. FarnbauchNovember 3, 2019

In a story that is becoming all too common, a doctor accused of multiple overdose deaths has moved from state to another after discipline from a health board. Dr. Darrel Rinehart is a longtime Tennessee doctor who moved to Indiana once his prescriptions were questioned.  Officials describe Rinehart as a careless prescriber who failed to protect his patients from his prescriptions, according to public records obtained by The Tennessean and The Indianapolis Star. 

Rinehart, officials argue, routinely broke the basic rules of prescribing: He handed out powerful painkillers in unjustifiably large doses; he haphazardly mixed opioids with anxiety drugs; he failed to examine patients before prescribing; he failed to use a prescription database that prevents doctor shopping; and he often ignored obvious signs that patients were abusing or reselling his prescriptions.

And the results, state officials said, were deadly. Records state at least five of Rinehart’s patients suffered fatal overdoses that were partially or wholly caused by drugs he prescribed between March 2015 and January 2016. Health officials are also suspicious of two more deaths of patients who were taking Rinehart’s prescriptions, but they were not autopsied because Rinehart told investigators the patients were killed by natural causes.

Six more patients had nonfatal overdoses between 2014 and 2016, according to an expert's review of Rinehart's medical records. One of those patients, to whom Rinehart prescribed at least 11 different drugs, overdosed three times.

Finally, Rinehart was caught on undercover video increasing a patient’s opioid prescription without any examination and adding an Adderall prescription after the patient casually asked for “something to help me focus.” This video, officials say, offers a firsthand view of how Rinehart failed his patients.

You can read more here.