Patient, attorney defend doctors accused of overprescribing meds that led to drug overdose

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

CONROE, Texas - Defense attorneys and patients are speaking out after four doctors were arrested and charged with improperly prescribing controlled substances to patients

The District Attorney's Office said some of the prescribed drugs included fentanyl, morphine and hydrocodone. 

What are prosecutors saying?

Prosecutors said the doctors prescribed drugs to 15 people, who later died from a drug overdose. Eight of those deaths have now resulted in criminal charges. 

Attorney and patient speak against the charges

Attorney Letita Quinones represents Dr. Fadi Ghanem. She believes the District Attorney's Office has made a mistake.

“They were not patients of Dr. Ghanem's for over two to three years. So, it's not like they left Dr. Ghanem’s office, filled a prescription and then died,” Quinones said. 

Carolyn Styles, a patient of Dr. Miguel Flores for more than 30 years, said she doesn’t believe the allegations.

“When my husband passed, he wouldn't even give me anything, not that kind of drug or even a sleeping pill. He's just not that way," Styles said.

What happened?

Investigators said In October 2018, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office received federal grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in order to investigate and prosecute prescription drug diversion in the county. 

The DA’s office was able to identify the doctors by using autopsy data from the Montgomery County Forensic Services Department and analyzing the doctors prescribing habits. 

"We were looking at certain patients that had died," said Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Tamara Holland. "We looked at some of their medical records and that's what led us to some of the doctors." 

Here are the doctors prosecutors said were identified as part of the investigation. 

- Dr. Hussamaddin Al-Khadour  

Charges: One count of operating a pain management clinic without being properly registered and one count for writing a false or fictitious prescription.

- Dr. Emad Mikhail Bishai 

Charges: Four counts of committing unprofessional or dishonorable conduct by prescribing to a person who Bishai knew or should have known was an abuser of controlled substances and four counts of prescribing without a valid medical purpose. 

These counts are related to four overdose deaths. Bishai has also been charged with improperly delegating professional medical responsibility that stems from his practice of pre-signing Schedule II prescription forms. 

Bishai’s office building has also been seized by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in a civil asset forfeiture suit for being used in the commission of or acquired with proceeds from engaging in organized criminal activity, various violations of the Texas Health and Safety Code and insurance fraud.

- Dr. Miguel Flores  

Charges: One count of committing unprofessional or dishonorable conduct by prescribing to a person who Flores knew or should have known was an abuser of controlled substances and one count for prescribing without a valid medical purpose. These counts are related to one overdose death.

- Dr. Fadi Ghanem  

Charges: Three counts of committing unprofessional or dishonorable conduct by prescribing to a person who Ghanem knew or should have known was an abuser of controlled substances and three counts of prescribing without a valid medical purpose. These counts are related to three overdose deaths. 

What's next?

The DA’s Office is asking anyone with information in this case or any other cases to call and report it.

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