BRIDGEWATER, N.S. — A former patient of a Nova Scotia doctor accused of drug trafficking and fraud testified Tuesday that he did not receive pills even though records show they were prescribed to him.
"As God is my witness, I never got them," Merle Chase told the trial of Dr. Sarah Dawn Jones in Bridgewater provincial court.
The Crown alleges Jones wrote prescriptions for 50,000 oxycodone and OxyNeo pills to a patient, but the drugs were diverted to the community.
Chase said Jones was his doctor for four or five years, and that he started seeing her in 2010. He would drive to see her at her office in Tantallon before getting into a car accident later that year. She then started making house calls.
He said he has chronic pain stemming from numerous injuries throughout his life, including falling roughly 3.5 metres and breaking his arm, being hit in the neck with sheet metal and being shot in the leg twice in a hunting accident.
Court heard that Jones prescribed OxyNeo in Chase's name multiple times in 2014 and 2015, but the 68-year-old retired truck driver testified that he did not receive the bulk of those prescriptions.
Reading from a patient expense report, Crown attorney Josh Bryson said that in March 2014, there were eight prescriptions for OxyNeo written in Chase's name.
Bryson went month-by-month between January 2014 and August 2015, asking Chase about pills prescribed in his name. Bryson said OxyNeo was prescribed to him numerous times per month.
"I never received them pills," Chase said, who was emotional during his testimony and occasionally dabbed tears from his eyes. "I don't care how many times she wrote them out."
But Chase was not consistent in his testimony about how many OxyNeo prescriptions he actually received from Jones, how many pills he took and the last time he took them.
He said the last time he took OxyNeo was August 2015, but under cross examination, defence lawyer Stan MacDonald noted he told police the last time he took the drug was October 2015.
"So you really don't know when the last time you took an oxy pill was?" MacDonald asked.
"No, I really don't," Chase conceded, earlier saying he stopped taking the pills because he considered them to be a street drug and he had heard they were addictive.
Jones sat quietly during Chase's morning testimony, occasionally jotting down notes. She has pleaded not guilty to possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, drawing a document without authority and fraud.
MacDonald reiterated Chase's many issues with pain, and noted his discomfort was so bad, there were times he would call Jones' office in tears. His pain has since improved.
He spent much of his cross-examination asking about Norma Wentzell, who Chase lived with for a period of time during the alleged offences.
Chase described Wentzell as "crazy" and told the court she would abuse him. He said she often told him what to tell people, including Jones and police.
"She had her nose in everything concerning Dr. Jones and myself," said Chase, adding he believed she was jealous.
The nature of their relationship was not made clear, but Chase did say he met her through an ad she posted in the newspaper.
MacDonald also asked about when Mormons would come to the home in Bridgewater, and Chase agreed that Wentzell took them into his room and closed the door.
MacDonald noted that Chase said during an interview that he believed she was "looking at" the pills while in his room with the Mormons.
"The pill bottles weren't put back the way that I had them. So I knew somebody was at my pills," he said, adding that he kept his pills in a drawer in a plastic blue and white case.
Chase told the defence Wentzell would direct him to call Jones' office and ask for more of the opiates.
Reading from the clinic's call log, MacDonald said that on April 23, 2014, Chase called for more medication, and two days prior, a prescription had been written for 360 OxyNeo pills.
Last week, the judge in the case ruled that information provided to a medical regulator would be excluded from the trial.
The defence had argued a letter and interview Jones provided to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in September 2015 were provided under compulsion.
Bryson said as many as 20 witnesses are expected to be called. The trial resumes Wednesday.
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Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press