The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Woman in care of Nibedita Mohanty, a Stafford County doctor, died of OD
A Stafford County doctor facing 95 felony charges connected to an alleged misuse of pain medication prescriptions will be in jail at least until Thursday.
Nibedita Mohanty, 54, was arrested Friday and charged with numerous counts of illegally distributing drugs and obtaining money by false pretenses and a single count of involuntary manslaughter.
According to the indictment, the manslaughter count involves the death of King George resident Veronica Marie Wentzel, who was 41 when she died on June 1, 2011, from a drug overdose.
Court records state that Wentzel was a patient of Mohanty’s and was repeatedly prescribed pain medication despite warning signs that the medication was being abused.
The Stafford indictment charging manslaughter states that Mohanty’s negligence was “so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.”
Mohanty’s attorney, Peter Greenspun of Northern Virginia, filed a request in Stafford Circuit Court Monday requesting a bond hearing Thursday.
Mohanty was unable to get an earlier hearing because the Circuit Court judges are away at a conference until Thursday.
If for some reason Greenspun’s request isn’t granted, it could be sometime next week before another hearing date is available, court officials said.
Stafford and federal officials have been investigating Mohanty for months. Her office on Garrisonville Road and her home at 441 Marlborough Point Road were raided in January and numerous records, bank statements and other items were seized.
In court records filed in Stafford Circuit Court, Mohanty was accused of operating a “pill mill” and supplying narcotics to drug dealers and abusers.
She is also accused of tax and insurance fraud.
Several informants are referred to in court documents, but the only one named is William Winfred Price, her former live-in boyfriend with whom she has at least one child in common.
Mohanty was ordered on April 11 to stop practicing medicine pending the results of a proceeding before the state Board of Medicine.
She had been practicing internal medicine in Stafford for 20 years and until recently served as the chief of medicine at Stafford Hospital.
In its paperwork regarding the Mohanty case, the Board of Medicine did not refer to Wentzel by name. But the board does reference a 41-year-old woman who died the same day as Wentzel.
The documents state that “Patient A” received a 30-day supply of pain medication a couple of days before her death even though Mohanty was aware that the patient was admitted to the hospital on May 19 of that year for a “drug overdose with respiratory depression.”
The document states that Mohanty provided prescriptions to the patient a number of times prior to that “notwithstanding her awareness of drug-seeking behavior and information that should have indicated the patient was abusing or had become addicted to these medications.”
One of Mohanty’s employees told law enforcement that she made Mohanty aware on multiple occasions that the patient appeared to be impaired at her regular office visits, but the doctor continued to prescribe narcotics.
According to court records, the patient’s husband told police that he tried numerous times to speak with Mohanty about his wife’s drug abuse, but the doctor refused to talk to him.
Office notes indicate that the patient told Mohanty twice in 2010 that her husband had flushed her medication down the toilet.
Prior to her arrest, Mohanty issued a statement declaring her innocence of all of the allegations in the search warrant affidavits.
She denied ever giving prescriptions without sound medical reasons or committing insurance and tax fraud. She said Price was seeking revenge against her for an unrelated domestic issue that landed him in jail.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404