CLEARFIELD – The case against a DuBois doctor accused of over-prescribing medications that led to a death is now moving forward.
Henry G. Dela Torre, 70, was charged with two felony counts each of administration of controlled substance by practitioner, and submitting claim or referring improper service, as well as two misdemeanor counts of giving controlled substance to dependent person and recklessly endangering another person in February of 2018.
The charges were the result of an investigation into the overdose death of a Punxsutawney woman on Aug. 21, 2016.
Attorneys for Dela Torre had asked for a competency hearing to determine if he is able to stand trial.
The hearing scheduled for Thursday before President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman was declared unnecessary after both sides agreed to accept a report on the findings of a physician who evaluated Dela Torre and found him competent to stand trial.
The case is scheduled for jury selection in October and for trial on Dec. 16 through Dec. 20.
The affidavit of probable cause in this case details how police responding to the scene noticed several prescription bottles with the victim’s name that had been prescribed by Dr. Dela Torre.
This included a bottle filled on Aug. 19, 2016 that originally contained 84 Oxycodone tablets. Reportedly only 20 tablets remained in the bottle.
On Sept. 30, 2016, the victim’s brother also overdosed, but he was able to be revived after medics administered Narcan to him, police said.
His mother told investigators that he had several prescriptions from Dela Torre.
When Dela Torre was questioned about how he deals with patients with addiction problems, he reportedly said he does drug screens and pill counts.
If they fail either of these precautions, Dela Torre stated to investigators that he tells them “they are going to the big house if they continue to misuse their drugs.”
He also warned them they could have respiratory failure, he said and threatened to not give them their medications.
The victim was being seen twice a month because she had “problems with drugs,” according to court documents.
Even though he warned her about using certain medications together including Suboxone and Clonazepam, he continued to prescribe them, according to a doctor reviewing the victim’s medical records.
It was also noted that Dela Torre was aware she was taking Oxycodone stolen from someone else.
On July 22, 2016, he reportedly prescribed her 84 Oxycodone 20mg tablets, 10 Fentanyl Transdermal 25mcg/hour and 112 Diazepam 5 mg tablets.
On Aug. 5, 2016 he refilled her Oxycodone prescription and increased her Diazepam. He continued to prescribe her Oxycodone until Aug. 19, 2016, according to the criminal complaint.
The conclusion in the affidavit states that Dela Torre’s treatment of the victim “fell outside the accepted treatment practices of any responsible segment of the medical community and was not in good faith.”
The same was determined to be the case in his treatment of the second victim.
Urine drug screen tests done during his treatment showed that the second victim was not taking several of the medications Dela Torre was prescribing to him yet Dela Torre allegedly continued to prescribe them.
Both victims were enrolled in the PA Medical Assistance Program and the loss to that program in this case is $787.74, according to the report.
The case was originally filed in Jefferson County but was transferred to Clearfield County because Dela Torre’s office is in DuBois.