A doctor in the US state of Georgia has been arrested after 36 of his patients died whilst under his care, with 12 of them allegedly killed by a prescription medication overdose. Psychiatrist Narendra Nagareddy was dubbed 'Doctor Death' after the allegations and stands accused of violating Georgia's Controlled Substance Act.
According to reports, almost 40 federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local police raided his office in the US city of Jonesboro, around 17 miles south of Atlanta. They later visited his home where they seized some of his assets on Thursday, 14 January.
Since his practice licence was issued in 1999, Nagareddy has received several online complaints citing his prescription methods. In addition to his criminal charges, the Clayton County District Attorney's Office also applied to seize assets under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Clayton County Police Chief Mike Register said: "He's a psychiatrist in Jonesboro who has been overprescribing opiates and benzodiazepine and the last several years has had a multitude of overdoses and overdose deaths," he told WSB-TV Channel 2 News.
"People come to this person for help, and instead of getting help, they're met with deadly consequences. If the allegations are true, he is Doctor Death, no doubt about it."
Nagareddy, who is certified with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, treated former patient Audrey Austin, 29, who died of a prescription drug overdose just days after she visited him. Her mother, Ruth Carr, said: "She died of a fatal prescription drug overdose just days after she visited Nagareddy. She was an addict and he made it very easy for her."
Reportedly, it was the mother-of-two's death that brought about the inquiry into Dr Nagareddy. "He's charged with prescribing pain medication which is outside his profession as a psychiatrist and not for a legitimate purpose for the patient," said Clayton county district attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.
An investigation by Fox Carolina in the US found that he has faced no disciplinary action, no criminal convictions, no medical malpractice suits and no medical settlements, according to the State Board of Medical Examiners.