Nassau Doctor Sentenced to Up to 15 Years in Prison for Overprescription of Opioids that Led to Five Deaths
Dr. George Blatti ignored repeated warnings and prescribed massive quantities of opioids and other drugs that killed five patients
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced today that a Nassau County doctor has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for prescription practices that led to the deaths of five patients between 2016 and 2018.
George Blatti, 78, pleaded guilty on October 10, 2023, before Judge Fran Ricigliano to five counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree (a B felony). The defendant was sentenced today to five to 15 years in prison.
“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,” said DA Donnelly. “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. 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.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said: “Today’s sentencing underscores the defendant’s blatant disregard to a doctor’s oath to do no harm. Dr. Blatti’s irreversible crimes have led to five deaths and hurt countless other people. DEA and our law enforcement partners have and will continue to bring to justice those who do the most harm, like Dr. Blatti and other drug traffickers.”
DA Donnelly said that the Nassau County Police Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit began an investigation into several opioid overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, in August 2018. That investigation revealed that certain individuals had an inordinate number of prescriptions for opioids written by the same physician, Dr. George Blatti.
At that time, NCPD began working jointly with members of the DEA’s Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad.
The investigation showed that between 2016 and 2018, patients addicted to opioids went to Blatti with requests for controlled medications and the defendant prescribed thousands of pills for drugs like oxycodone, morphine, clonazepam, alprazolam, and oxycontin with no medical history or exam.
In some cases, he prescribed opioid painkillers at patients’ request to individuals he had never met or spoken to.
Blatti met other customers 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.
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.
The defendant used paper prescriptions pursuant to a waiver issued by the New York State Health Commissioner, allowing him to avoid using the state’s secure electronic prescription system which is generally required, and provides for greater oversight.
Blatti was a general practitioner, originally licensed to practice medicine in 1976, and had no specialized training or accreditation in pain management.
As a result of his prescribing practices, five individuals died.
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 October 29, 2016, days after seeing Blatti and being prescribed morphine and clonazepam. He died on November 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 January 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 November 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 December 2, 2017, from acute intoxication of oxycodone and oxymorphone.
Diane Woodring, 53, from Port Washington, died on September 11, 2018, of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, alprazolam, mirtazapine, and valproic acid. These medications were prescribed by Blatti.
The defendant 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.
The defendant voluntarily surrendered his medical license to New York State authorities on June 24, 2019, after this investigation began.
NCDA would like to thank the DEA’s Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad and the NCPD Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
Senior Assistant District Attorney and Unit Chief of the Pharmaceutical Diversion and Cybercrimes Unit Melissa Scannell and Senior Litigation Counsel Stefanie Palma of the Homicide Bureau are prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Jeff Groder, Esq.