Witnesses testify as trial of Manitowoc doctor continues

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The federal trial continued Tuesday for a Manitowoc doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers to patients.

Dr. Charles Szyman pleaded not guilty to 19 federal charges of unlawfully prescribing prescription painkillers.

In court Tuesday, witnesses testified to becoming addicted to the medications Dr. Szyman prescribed, eventually deciding to sell their painkillers.

Several witnesses said they would lie to Dr. Szyman about their pain to keep their prescription or receive more pills. One witness testified that was prescribed 23 OxyContin pills a day, but did not take them all because she felt it was too much.

"Perhaps surprising to some people is how patient after patient they say that this doctor was doing a good job," said Beau Brindley, Dr. Szyman's defense attorney. "He made them better. He did what they asked him to do.  They believed in him and that's been uniform across all the patients.”

An undercover officer also testified. He said he recorded his appointments with Dr. Szyman. According to his testimony, the officer's medical chart reflected having an X-ray and describing a pain level of 5 to Dr. Szyman, but the officer said he never told the doctor that information.

He said he requested percocet and was given a prescription.

“What we have is a situation where there is an opioid epidemic in this region and a doctor is being a scapegoat for it, when in fact he was just trying to do his job," said Brindley. "They’re prosecuting the wrong person for this problem.”

NBC26 asked the prosecuting attorney to comment, but she declined.

Brindley said he expects closing arguments to be Friday morning.

Print this article Back to Top