Long Island doctor sentenced for pain pill deaths

Long Island doctor George Blatti has been sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for overprescribing pain pills and caused the deaths of five people.

Family members of Blatti's victims struggled to hold back tears in court on Monday. 

"Raising two children knowing their dad died, it’s not easy," said Valerie Kinzer who lost her husband, Michael. "It’s a very emotional day."

Prosecutors say Blatti recklessly caused the death of his patients by overprescribing pain pills.

Blatti, who was first charged in 2019, is believed to be the first doctor in New York that faced murder charges under the theory that he acted with depraved indifference to human life. The charges were later reduced to manslaughter. 

Blatti would see patients out of an abandoned storefront and would write prescriptions from his car. 

The patients, according to prosecutors, died within days of seeing him. He would feed their addictions on the drugs he’d prescribe and didn’t listen when family members begged him to stop.

During victim impact statements, family members asked the judge to sentence Blatti to the maximum of 15 years, arguing that while he may see the light of day, their deceased family members will not.

Blatti didn’t apologize to the victims' families during the sentencing.

His attorney, Jeff Groder, calls it a tragedy of unbelievable proportions.

"My client did the only thing he could do, and that was to plead guilty and therefore accept responsibility and punishment for what he did," Groder said.