A doctor based in Nassau County was sentenced Monday to up to 15 years in prison for opoiod prescription practices that led to five patient deaths between 2016 and 2018.
George Blatti, who had been living in Rockville Centre, had surrendered his license in 2019 once the investigation began. He pleaded guilty to five counts of second-degree manslaughter in October of 2023, according to Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.
“This doctor prescribed massive quantities of dangerous drugs to victims exhibiting clear signs of addiction and other health emergencies. His actions ultimately led to the deaths of five patients from drug overdose,” Donnelly said in a written statement.
“We entrust doctors with our care every day, assuming that their medical expertise and ethical oath to do no harm will ensure our health and safety,” she added. “George Blatti did not live up to his oath. He failed his patients and caused inconceivable suffering to their families. As we continue to battle the opioid epidemic across communities on Long Island, we hope that George Blatti’s sentence sends a strong message: if you overprescribe opioids and endanger patients, we will hold you accountable.”
Officials say that back in August of 2018, Nassau County police had begun investigating several opioid overdoses, both fatal and nonfatal. That investigation led to Blatti, who, officials say, had written an “inordinate number of prescriptions” for opioids for “certain individuals.”
Between 2016 and 2018, patients addicted to opioids went to Blatti with requests for controlled medications. Blatti prescribed thousands of pills for oxycodone, morphine, clonazepam, alprazolam and oxycontin without accesing any medical history or conducting a medical exam, the DA’s office said.
In some instances, he prescribed opioid painkillers at patients’ request to people he had never met or even spoken with, according to the DA’s office.
Blatti met some with some patients at a makeshift office in a Franklin Square storefront through 2019 that was formerly a Radio Shack, with a Radio Shack sign and merchandise racks still on the walls, the DA’s office said.
After Blatti lost access to that space, he saw patients in his car, prescribing medications with no examination from the parking lots of the Rockville Centre hotel where he lived and a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, according to the DA.
Blatti used paper prescriptions pursuant to a waiver issued by the New York State Health Commissioner, and with that practic, he could avoid using the state’s secure electronic prescription system, which is generally required, and provides for greater oversight, officials said.
The DA’s office said that Blatti was a general practitioner, originally licensed to practice medicine in 1976, He had no specialized training or accreditation in pain management.
As a result of his prescribing practices, five people died, the DA’s office said.
Geraldine Sabatasso, 50, began seeing Blatti in 2007 for pain following a neck surgery. Over six-and-a-half-months of being treated by Blatti with opioids, Sabatasso was given 35 prescriptions for more than 4,000 pills. Sabatasso died on March 22, 2016, of acute oxycodone intoxication.
Michael Kinzer, 44, began seeing Blatti in 2013. Kinzer was treated by Blatti with opioids for less than six months and was provided with more than 1,000 pills during that time. He was hospitalized for an overdose on Oct. 29, 2016, days after seeing Blatti and being prescribed morphine and clonazepam. He died on Nov. 17, 2016, just two days after seeing Blatti again and receiving alprazolam and oxycontin, drugs that if combined can be fatal.
Robert Mielinis, 55, saw Blatti for approximately eight years. On Jan. 10, 2017, Mielinis received three prescriptions: 90 oxycodone 15mg; 270 oxycodone 30mg; and 240 alprazolam. The victim died 11 days later of mixed drug toxicity. Prescription records indicate that Mielinis received approximately forty-nine prescriptions from Blatti over a seven-month period for thousands of pills of the drugs alprazolam, oxycodone, and Percocet. At one point, Blatti prescribed Mielinis nine times the recommended daily maximum dose of opioid painkillers.
Sean Quigley, 31, a volunteer firefighter from Floral Park, struggled with opioid abuse dating back to at least 2008. In 2017, he was suffering from liver failure and retaining water. Blatti saw him in the months of June, July, August, September, October, and November. On Nov. 21, 2017, despite clear signs of a failing liver, for which he prescribed a diuretic and potassium supplement, Blatti prescribed 180 oxycodone pills. Quigley died 11 days later, on Dec. 2, 2017, from acute intoxication of oxycodone and oxymorphone.
Diane Woodring, 53, from Port Washington, died on Sept. 11, 2018, of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, alprazolam, mirtazapine, and valproic acid. These medications were prescribed by Blatti.
Blatti was arrested on April 18, 2019, by members of the NCPD Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit and the DEA Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad.