AG Shapiro Charges West Philadelphia Doctor With Death of Patient

February 17, 2021 | Topic: Criminal

The Doctor’s Dangerous Prescription Practices Led to the Death of His Patient

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the arrest of a doctor for irresponsible and dangerous prescription practices that led to the death of his patient.

“Dr. Wrenn had a duty to care for his patients, and he failed by recklessly prescribing highly addictive medications which continue to fuel overdose deaths across Pennsylvania,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “My office will continue to hold individuals accountable who knowingly put the lives of others at risk.”

Agents from the Office of the Attorney General and United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested Dr. Walter Wrenn on Wednesday for charges relating to the death of his patient. The investigation revealed that on March 2, 2019, the patient filled prescriptions for 60 units of Morphine, 180 units of Oxycodone, 90 units of Alprazolam, and 60 units of Temazepam. The next day, On March 3, 2019, the patient died as a result of an accidental overdose from cocaine, oxycodone, and morphine.

The investigation showed that Dr. Wrenn fabricated the patient’s diagnosis in order for Keystone First to approve filling the prescribed medications. The patient’s opioid prescriptions far exceeded the recommended 90 milligrams per day. On Keystone First’s authorization form, Dr. Wrenn stated that the patient had “metastatic lung cancer.” A review of medical records from their family doctor, hospital admission records, and the autopsy report show that the patient never had metastatic lung cancer. Keystone First relied upon this false information and approved medications that were paid with Medicaid funds.

Expert review of files revealed that Dr. Wrenn’s care was woefully inadequate, in reckless disregard for patient safety and health, medically inappropriate, and did not follow all the standards of care. The care provided by Dr. Wrenn was outside the norms and without legitimate medical purpose. If not for Dr. Wrenn’s unreasonable and reckless prescribing, the patient would not have overdosed and died on March 3, 2019.

Dr. Wrenn is being charged with Drug Delivery Resulting in Death, Involuntary Manslaughter, violation of the Drug Act, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Tampering with Public Records and Medicaid Fraud. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Stryd. Any current patients of Dr. Wrenn who need assistance in locating a new medical provider or need assistance accessing medication should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Patient Advocacy Program by emailing or calling 844-377-7367 from Monday through Friday 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM.

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $9,536,968 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $3,178,987 for FY 2020, is funded by Pennsylvania. 

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