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Williamsville doctor sentenced to 70 months for improperly prescribing controlled substances

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Dr. Eugene Gosy, a Williamsville pain specialist who was found to have unlawfully prescribe painkillers and commit health care fraud, has been sentenced to 70 months in prison.

Gosy was indicted on 114 counts in April of 2016. He was accused of pre-signing blank prescriptions for others in his practice to fill out.

Gosy must report to federal marshals by noon on Nov. 13. After the six-year prison sentence, Gosy will spend another three years under post-release supervision.

Prosecution and defense had reached a plea bargain for pain specialist to plead guilty. In not much more than an hour before Chief Judge Frank Geraci, Gosy's career was shredded by lawyers and the mother of a patient who died attacked him as a killer. Prosecutors had chosen to not to push forward on an unclear number of patient deaths, instead agreeing to charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and healthcare fraud.

After the sentencing, Loretta Jones called the doctor a killer who caused the death of her daughter Alane Butler in his treatment of her back problems.

"He put her in a room with a nurse, gave her two bags of fluids because she was so dehydrated, gave her a shot for nausea, gave her a shot of demerol and gave me another prescription," Jones said. "I said, 'Should she take this with the methadone?' He said, 'Yes.' I took her home. She ate something, took the pills and went to sleep and never woke up."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Defense attorney Joel Daniels talks with reporters at the courthouse Thursday.

However, defense lawyer Joel Daniels told reporters patients will miss him.

"Literally hundreds of former patients are going to miss him in a big way, because to most of those people, he was the answer and he was their savior," Daniels said. "So it's a hard day for all of us, Dr. Gosy's family and, again, those hundreds and hundreds of patients that he had over the years."

In nearly 30 years of practice, Gosy treated around 40,000 patients. He was the most well-known pain doctor in the area and the physician other doctors referred patients to.

In 2014, it all fell apart after an array of federal agencies investigated. Prosecutors said he lost control of what was going on, leaving care and prescription pads to staffers - some medical, some not - and bought cars, traveled internationally and lived large.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said it was the right case to handle, no matter what the medical establishment claimed.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy responds to criticism of the indictment Thursday.

"Heads of the local medical community, the Erie County Medical Society, came to me and sat in our office and said that this indictment was having a chilling effect on the practice of medicine in Western New York," Kennedy said. "My response was, I don't know exactly what that means, but if that means it gets a physician to think twice about prescribing these powerful drugs, then good."

Gosy has an unspecified potentially serious medical problem. He has an MRI scheduled for Friday and expects possible other medical visits. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan Cullinane told the court federal prisons offer medical care in a variety of locations and for an array of health problems.

WBFO's Dave Debo contributed to this story.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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