Witness: Doctor saw patients giving painkillers
A former patient of Leonard Stambler, the Baldwin Harbor doctor accused of illegally prescribing oxycodone, said Wednesday the physician was present twice when other patients gave the witness the painkillers the doctor had prescribed for them.
Stambler is on trial in federal court in Central Islip on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of the drug.
Government witness Anthony Rinaldi, 32, testified that in the summer of 2011 he lived in East Rockaway in a house along with two patients of Stambler's, Nancy Cook and her boyfriend Christopher Adams.
That summer, Rinaldi testified during questioning by Eastern District prosecutor Allen Bode, Stambler drove up with Cook, who handed Rinaldi a number of oxycodone pills.
Rinaldi said Wednesday that in November of that year Stambler came to the house with Adams, who handed Rinaldi 20 oxycodone pills wrapped in the cellophane from a cigarette package. Stambler, who was in the driver's seat during the November transaction, turned his head so he was not looking at the two of them, and said, "he didn't want to know nothing. He didn't want to see nothing," Rinaldi testified.
Rinaldi said he made as much as $15,000 to $20,000 a month by buying oxycodone pills for $10 each and selling them for $20 each. Eventually, Rinaldi said he became a patient of Stambler's.
Under questioning by Stambler's defense attorney, Gary Schoer of Syosset, Rinaldi said he was unaware that if he had not been granted immunity by the government for testifying against the doctor he could have faced up to 40 years in prison.
Also Wednesday, a government witness, Dr. Seth Waldman, the head of pain management at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, disagreed with a doctor who had previously testified for Stambler that the Baldwin Harbor physician's medical methods were within acceptable bounds because "every patient is unique."
Waldman said Stambler's practice of prescribing oxycodone was not within "the normal course of medical practice."