Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Doctor accused in three overdoses, but records show more patients died

Dr. Edward Neil Feldman is accused in three prescription drug deaths.

Dr. Edward Neil Feldman is accused in three prescription drug deaths.

TAMPA — Medical examiner records link a Pinellas Park pain management doctor to more than a dozen people who died of drug overdoses and left behind pill bottles that bore his name.

New findings bring to at least 17 the number of patients whose deaths have been attributed to drug toxicity after they were prescribed controlled substances by Dr. Edward Neil Feldman.

The information doesn't prove that Feldman was to blame or even that the patients took his pills.

A federal indictment unsealed last week faulted Feldman, 75, in three prescription drug-related deaths, while charging him and his wife with hiding proceeds of a $6 million drug conspiracy.

He has also been accused by the Florida Department of Health of dispensing oxycodone, the anti-anxiety drug Valium, and Soma, a muscle relaxant, to a 57-year-old woman "in strengths and quantities which were potentially lethal."

The statement is contained in one of three administrative complaints pending before the Florida Board of Medicine that claim malpractice by Feldman.

Another tells of the fatal overdose of a man, 26, seen by Feldman at a Tampa clinic in 2009. The man obtained prescriptions for 680 oxycodone pills within 38 days, the state charges.

A tally of fatal overdoses by Feldman patients hasn't been announced by authorities, but many can be drawn from public records.

The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office queried its database at the request of the Tampa Bay Times to seek death investigations in which remnants of Feldman-prescribed drugs were collected at the scene.

Some deaths were attributed to diseases, such as diabetes. But 15 were attributed to toxic levels of oxycodone, methadone or combinations of drugs.

At least one of the federal cases was not included in the group, a patient identified by initials that were not present among the 15. Nor was the 2009 Tampa death.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office attempted a similar database search, but its program is new and cannot access past years' records.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the rationale for charging Feldman in some deaths but not others.

Although toxicology studies can identify the main players in a person's death, it's not possible to know whether the pills came from a particular bottle, said Bill Pellan, director of investigations for the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office.

Another complicating factor: Blood tests often show multiple drugs, which may have been prescribed by different doctors.

Prosecutors have to establish that if not for a doctor's actions, the patient would not have died.

Feldman could face a minimum of 20 years in prison — or up to life — if Assistant U.S. Attorney Shauna Hale proves that patient deaths resulted from drugs Feldman prescribed that were "not for a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice."

He has not yet entered a plea.

His wife, Kim Xuan Feldman, 65, told a reporter Wednesday and Friday that neither of them wished to comment.

Attorney Dale Sisco and his brother represented the Feldmans at a court appearance last week. Sisco said Friday it wouldn't be appropriate for Feldman to discuss the medical examiner overdose records or the pending federal case.

"Generally, patients who have chronic pain and who are treated with opiates like oxycodone, they develop a dependence upon those drugs," Sisco said. "Unfortunately, the patients don't always take medication as it's been prescribed."

Several of the deceased had a history of drug abuse, according to the medical examiner notes.

The bodies of Joey Mayes, 24, and Lucas Ezell, 30, both of Pinellas Park, were each found with drugs and straws. Syringes were noted in two other cases.

Sisco said he doesn't know enough about the particulars to comment.

"I can't imagine there's a prescription from Dr. Feldman where he's instructed a patient to crush oxycodone and snort it or inject it," Sisco said. "I can't imagine that there would ever be such a prescription."

The attorney said the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database did not exist at the time of the activity alleged in the federal indictment. The program began in 2011. The indictment singles out drug-related deaths from 2010 and 2011.

Feldman's prescriptions were also found at six overdose scenes from 2012 through 2014, Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner records show.

Contact Patty Ryan at or (813) 226-3382.

Doctor accused in three overdoses, but records show more patients died 01/10/15 [Last modified: Saturday, January 10, 2015 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  2. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA —When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Beth Caldwell, 35, and her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7. Caldwell had surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumor three years ago. [Photo Courtesy of Beth Caldwell]
  3. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.
  4. Dade City's Wild Things blocks PETA officials at gates for court-ordered site inspection


    Times Staff Writer

    DADE CITY — Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show.

    Dade City's Wild Things founder Kathy Stearns refused to let People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials enter her facility on Thursday for a court-ordered inspection, court filings show. This comes four days after 19 Wild Things tigers arrived at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. A judge had granted an emergency injunction July 14, ordering Stearns not remove any tigers pending the upcoming PETA inspection. Photo from Facebook page of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.
  5. St. Petersburg City Council approves $326 million sewage fix


    ST. PETERSBURG — Last week the City Council learned no criminal charges would result from the up to 200 million gallons of sewage St. Petersburg's sewer system released from …

    [LARA CERRI  |  Times]