Dr. Chua’s trial starts Oct. 15
|Posted by Manila Mail under US News|
ATLANTA, Georgia After more than one year in detention, Filipino American Doctor Noel Natividad Chua will have his day in court Oct. 15 in Brunswick County, Georgia.
District Attorney Stephen Kelley has informed the court and Chuas lawyers that he will present evidence involving alleged prescription irregularities involving 16 other patients, including issuing narcotics to a dog.
Filipino and American supporters of Dr. Chua, many wearing T-shirts reading We Support Dr. Chua, A Good Doctor, meanwhile vowed to lend their support during the trial.
The parents of Chuas alleged victim, James Carter II, finally broke their silence in the wake of the trial. Tammy Flannery and James Carter Jr. questioned Chuas intentions on their son saying they have never seen a doctor take such an interest in a patient, even if their son denied anything inappropriate.
Theyre doing injustice by keeping him in there, Virgil Lynn of Harriets Bluff told The Times-Union.
Im 78 years old, and Ive never met a doctor like him. Hes done no wrong.”
Anybody that had known Dr. Chua or supports Dr. Chua supports Dr. Chua,” said Scott Alexander, a patient of Chua who described the internist as caring and compassionate” who would phone his patients to chide them about their health habits and even made the occasional house call.
Inside the courthouse-which is across the Camden County Jail, where Chua has been held without bail since his arrest-prosecutors cited 30 other instances of sloppy or unsafe prescription practices they intend to use as evidence against the Caloocan City-born doctor.
The list was reportedly compiled from searches of Chuas home and office and from witnesses. In one instance, a patient reportedly overdosed four months before Carters death in December 2005.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers are barred by a gag order to discuss the list, but The Times-Union said the document indicates the alleged irregularities began in March 2003 until August 2006, eight months after Carters death and a month before Chuas arrest.
- five occasions when Chua signed blank prescription forms
- four occasions when Chua ignored signs of drug abuse or dependence
- four occasions when Chua took back drugs prescribed by another doctor
- three occasions when Chua post-dated prescription forms
- one instance when Chua gave drugs for a patient to her husband without first examining her
- one instance when Chua issued narcotics to a dog.
The coroner concluded Carter died of multi-drug intoxication.
Reports said the DA also informed the court he has turned over discovery evidence to Chuas counsel, Donald Samuel. That evidence reportedly includes photographs of a trip Chua and Carter took to New York for their birthdays in November 2005, Chuas 911 call after finding Carters body, and a list of 60 state witnesses.
In an another interview with Times-Union, Carters parents said they are baffled by the interest Chua showed in their son.
We questioned why a 45-year-old physician would take an interest in a 19-year-old kid,” said Carters mom, Tammy Flannery, a nurse for 25 years. Jamie would say, why cant you and Dad just be happy that I have such a good friend? As much as we disapproved, we trusted Jamie. He was responsible.”
Carter was Chuas patient and later became a houseguest and employee, filing records and assisting patients for Chuas busy clinic.
In previous interviews with the Filipino Reporter by e-mail, Chua, a bachelor, repeatedly denied any intimate relationship with Carter.
I showed hospitality after both of his divorced parents warmly received me in their homes during a festival and Thanksgiving,” said Chua, a medical graduate of the Far Eastern University in Manila. My cousin and I were first introduced to his mom and stepfather during an agricultural festival in their town and we were given a tour of his moms new trailer home. His mom was very thankful then and told me, and I quote, Thank you for taking care of him. Then I was invited to his father and stepmothers house for Thanksgiving and they were again very hospitable tome.”
Chua continued: He [Carter] spends his time with his family during weekends and on days he didnt go to work or school. We later found out that his father had kicked him out of their house.”
The drugs and treatments he received from me testify to the lack of such relationship,” he said.
Most of the drugs prescribed to him were not the type keenly sought by people who just intend to abuse drugs. He was very interested in getting relief and had actually gone to the acupuncturist upon my recommendation the day before he died.”
Carters father said his family is dismayed when reading online accusations that they dont care about Carter.
When we read these things, his family didnt love him, its bull,” James Carter Jr. said. I was alwaysproud of him. It hurts to read some of that stuff.”
In January 2007, Carters family reportedly settled a medical malpractice lawsuit with Chua for an undisclosed amount.
Terms of the settlement are confidential.
The Filipino-American community in Georgia has so far raised $7,000 to help pay Chuas legal defense and an online petition seeking to have Chua released on bond collected about 1,300 signatures from around the world.
Aside from felony murder, Chua was also charged with 16 counts of violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, plus racketeering (RICO) that gave the prosecutors the authority to freeze his bank accounts and other assets.