Judge grants 9th trial delay in Northumberland County doctor's drug case

Raymond Kraynak

WILLIAMSPORT — Dr. Raymond Kraynak's defense team intends to use expert testimony from a Massachusetts doctor who specializes in pain management, according to the most recent filing in the federal case against the suspended Northumberland County doctor accused of criminal prescribing practices resulting in the deaths of five patients.

Federal authorities in 2017 accused the 62-year-old man of once having operated Pennsylvania’s largest pill mill during the heroin and opioid epidemic. Kraynak, after nine successful delay requests, is scheduled for jury selection on May 4 in Williamsport.

The federal document, filed by Kraynak’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas A. Thornton, on Feb. 10, named the expert witness as Dr. Carol Warfield, who was awarded her medical license in Massachusetts in 1980 and has been practicing medicine ever since. Warfield’s current positions include being a professor of anesthesia at Harvard University and as an anesthetist and pain management physician at a pain clinic she founded at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"Dr. Warfield is an expert as the result of her knowledge, skill and training as a physician and a pain management specialist," Thorton wrote. "Dr. Warfield will review the records of Dr. Kraynak which were provided to the defense in discovery. Based on those records, Dr. Warfield will offer an expert opinion which will help the trier of fact to determine whether Dr. Kraynak’s medical treatment of patients was within 'the normal course of practice,' standard of care and with a 'legitimate medical purpose' or as alleged by the government was no more than a street drug dealing effort for profit."

Warfield will provide a summary of her testimony when she has finished reviewing all the records and as required by the court. That summary will describe her opinions and the basis and reasons for those opinions, Thorton wrote.

The filing includes 20 pages of Warfield's credentials, including her education, appointments, responsibilities, assignments, professional society involvement, original article notations and other information.

Federal agents arrested Kraynak, of Mount Carmel, on Dec. 21, 2017. He’s charged with 12 counts of illegal distribution or dispensing, five counts of illegal distribution or dispensing resulting in death, two counts of maintaining drug-involved premises for his offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin.

The indictment states Kraynak allegedly prescribed more than 6 million opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and fentanyl, between May 2012 and July 2017. Prosecutors seek to hold him responsible for the overdose deaths of five patients that occurred between October 2013 and May 2015. Officials have not identified the alleged victims.

Kraynak is free on $500,000 unsecured bail. His medical license is suspended indefinitely by the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine until the conclusion of the criminal case, according to the Department of State.

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