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Slipknot co-founder’s doctor charged with 8 counts of manslaughter

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines doctor faces involuntary manslaughter  charges for allegedly prescribing large amounts of narcotic painkillers to eight  patients who fatally overdosed, including a metal band’s founder.

Dr. Daniel Baldi appeared Wednesday in Polk County District Court, and a  judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, The Des Moines Register reported. Involuntary  manslaughter is an aggravated misdemeanor under Iowa law.

One of the eight patients was identified in court papers as Paul Gray, a  founder of the band Slipknot. He died of an overdose in 2010 at an  Urbandale hotel.

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Court documents allege that Baldi unintentionally caused Gray’s death by  writing “high-dose prescription narcotics to a known drug addict” starting on  Dec. 27, 2005.

Defense attorney Guy Cook said bringing criminal charges “is wrong” and Baldi  would fight the charges.

“It is unprecedented to turn unfortunate deaths or medical results into a  crime against a doctor,” Cook said in an email Wednesday to The Associated  Press.

“Unexpected deaths can occur in severe, chronic pain patients unrelated to  medical treatment. This is especially true with patients who are drug addicts or  drug abusers,” Cook said.

Cook said five of the charges involved overdoses of admitted drug addicts,  and two charges involved patients seen only once by Baldi.

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The Register said Baldi faces four medical malpractice lawsuits, including  three wrongful death suits. The three deaths in those lawsuits were among the  eight cited in the criminal charges.

The Iowa Board of Medicine filed administrative charges against Baldi last  month. The board alleges that he prescribed large quantities of narcotics and  other addictive drugs without properly assessing patients’ needs for the  medications.

Baldi helped run an Iowa Health System treatment clinic in Des Moines, which  closed at the end of June. Iowa Health officials have said they suspended Baldi  from his job. They recently said that they no longer would comment about him,  The Register said.

There is increasing national concern about abuse of narcotic painkillers and  other prescription drugs.

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