Former doctor charged for overdose deaths of 2 patients

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A former Pittsburgh-area doctor is facing charges for the deaths of two patients.

Police say he was known as a favorite in the clinic because he was supplying patients with dangerous drugs.

Dr. Michel Toret, 71, was arrested and charged Friday morning with two counts of drug delivery resulting in death and other charges.


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Brittney Finnegan made one call to law enforcement and worked with them for five months.

Now, almost a year later, she’s relieved knowing the doctor she used to work for is facing criminal charges. 

Finnegan said within a month of working for Toret, she knew something wasn't right. 

She saw Toret prescribing large amounts of methadone and suboxone in what's supposed to be a family practice. 

"They would leave with multiple different pain medications and benzos,” Finnegan said.

Toret ran his practice out of this office on Hill Drive in North Huntingdon. 

She saw Toret prescribing large amounts of methadone and suboxone in what's supposed to be a family practice. 

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"To see that people are trusting these doctors and knowing this is what they're getting when they walk in there instead of the help they need it breaks your heart,” Finnegan said.

Days after the she contacted police, a patient of Toret died of a fatal overdose, police said. The patient had an appointment with Toret the week before her death.

A second patient of Toret's died in October. Police said they found opioids prescribed by Toret in his hotel room. 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said today, "Whether you’re a doctor or a dealer on a street corner, if you give someone drugs and it causes their death, you’re facing a first-degree felony and jail." 

"He's the type of person everyone trusted to help them and he hurt them more,” Finnegan said.  

Finnegan told investigators Toret would see 35 patients a day, two or three new patients a week.

"Nobody had copays or anything; he was getting an easy paycheck,” Finnegan said.

Agents say Toret continued to write a dozen prescriptions for controlled substances, despite surrendering his DEA registration days before. 

“Not everybody can be saved, unfortunately, but I'm hoping I saved some people,” Finnegan said.

Toret will be the 10th defendant charged with drug delivery resulting in death by the Office of Attorney General in 2017.


 

 

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