A former Oklahoma City-based doctor was arrested Friday on nine murder complaints after eight patients died of prescription drug overdoses and another allegedly caused a fatal traffic accident.
Federal drug enforcements agents arrested William Martin Valuck, 71, at his home in Kilgore, Texas, authorities said.
Three of his patients died of overdoses a day after Valuck wrote their prescriptions, a state narcotics agent reported in an arrest affidavit. One was putting up her Christmas tree.
“Our investigation has revealed that during a period of approximately one year, Dr. Valuck prescribed extremely large amounts of controlled substances — including the most abused prescription drugs on the street — to numerous patients with very little medical examination or the establishment of a valid doctor-patient relationship,” agent T.N. Briscoe reported.
“During this same time period ... his patients have died from overdoses of the very same drugs he was prescribing in such massive doses.”
Briscoe works for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
The agent identified Valuck as “by far” the largest prescriber of controlled dangerous substances in the state of Oklahoma this year.
“Dr. Valuck does not accept any forms of insurance and all office visits are paid in cash and credit cards,” Briscoe reported.
Valuck charged $250 for the initial patient visit, $120 for a subsequent visit and $160 for a subsequent visit that included a urine analysis, according to the arrest affidavit. Some pharmacies refused to fill his prescriptions.
His attorney, Danny Shadid, said Friday afternoon of Valuck's arrest, “I just learned about this a few minutes ago. It is premature for me to make any further comment until I learn more information.”
Valuck was licensed in Oklahoma in December 2007 to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon, records show.
His attorney surrendered his license Dec. 13 after the state agency that licenses osteopaths accused him of unethical conduct and gross negligence.
He was prescribing controlled dangerous substances at a rate that would exceed 3.5 million pills in a year, the state licensing agency found.
Over the last three months of last year, his patients filled prescriptions he wrote at 215 pharmacies in 50 cities, the state agency found.
He worked this year at the Advance Care Clinic in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners reported.
His previous employer was the Vista Clinic in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma County District Judge Don Deason on Thursday ordered Valuck arrested on the nine murder complaints and on 43 complaints of unlawful dispensing of controlled dangerous substances.
Valuck has not been charged yet but agents have consulted with prosecutors in preparing the arrest warrant.
Such warrants allow authorities to go ahead and jail a suspect who might otherwise flee before an official charge can be brought.
Valuck was being held at the Rusk County jail in Henderson, Texas.
Valuck spent time in federal prison after being convicted in 2000 in Texas over an investment scheme, records show. He was ordered to pay $634,484 in restitution to victims.
Charging a doctor over the death of a patient is unusual but has happened. In one notable case, a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Joe Bills Reynolds, was found guilty in 1991 in Oklahoma County District Court of second-degree manslaughter after his wife died during liposuction.