Federal trial begins for Manitowoc doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The trial for a Manitowoc doctor charged with improperly prescribing and distributing medication started Monday in federal court.

Opening statements were heard in the case of Dr. Charles Szyman, who worked for Holy Family Memorial Hospital for 16 years before being fired in November of 2015.

Dr. Szyman has pleaded not guilty to 19 federal charges of unlawfully prescribing prescription painkillers. He is accused of overprescribing oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, amphetamine and hydrocondone to patients.

Szyman's attorney said the doctor prescribed medication based on the level of pain patients prescribed. 

"We're going to prove that by questioning the witnesses," explained Beau B. Brindley, lead counsel for Charles Szyman's defense team. "Letting the evidence come out, presenting evidence that established what his practice is and that he did it effectively."

The first witness testified that she was a patient of Dr. Szyman and lied about the amount of pain she was in to receive more medicine that she then sold.

The lawsuit against Dr. Szyman claims that in three cases, patients died "as a result of mixed drug toxicity." In one case, the result of injuries was linked directly to narcotics prescribed by Szyman.

He is suspended from practicing medicine.

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