Christian Hageseth, “Fugitive doctor jailed”
Fugitive doctor jailed
By Michelle Durand
The Daily Journal, San Mateo County, California
Nov. 26, 2007
The Colorado doctor facing prosecution for filling a Stanford student’s online Prozac prescription prior to the teen committing suicide is back in San Mateo County after failing to fight extradition from Nebraska where he was recently arrested on a traffic charge.
Dr. Christian Ellis Hageseth III, 66, will appear in court Nov. 30 to enter a plea and hear a defense motion to reduce his $500,000 bail.
Hageseth had been in custody in Cheyenne County, Neb. while awaiting extradition back to California on a $500,000 arrest warrant. Hageseth’s defense attorney Carl Briggs hoped his client could avoid extradition as he had on an earlier warrant seeking his transport from Colorado. However, Hageseth lost his legal battle last week and is now in the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City awaiting prosecution on one count of practicing medicine without a license.
In June 2005, John McKay, a freshman at Stanford University and former student at Menlo-Atherton High School, purchased 90 capsules of generic Prozac via credit card at the online pharmacy site USAnewRX.com which was then shipped from the Mississippi-based Gruich Pharmacy Shoppe.
Online sites like the one used by McKay do not require a physical examination prior to receiving a prescription. Instead, the buyer fills out an online questionnaire which a doctor is supposed to review before signing off on the drugs. Hageseth signed off on the prescription of fluoxetine without a consultation. On Aug. 2, 2005, McKay committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, reportedly with alcohol and fluoxetine in his system.
At the time of McKay’s online purchase, Hageseth was not allowed to fill prescriptions because he had a restricted medical license because of an unrelated relationship with a patient he later married.
The following February, McKay’s parents, David and Sheila, filed a federal lawsuit against Hageseth and the pharmacies, alleging negligence and wrongful death. That lawsuit has now been dismissed.
Meanwhile, the Medical Board of California launched its own investigation and the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges last May.
Instead of coming to California, Hageseth began a legal battle to remain in Colorado. Briggs has consistently maintained his client is not on the lam because he cannot legally be prosecuted when he wasn’t physically in the state when the prescription was issued.
A state Appeals Court recently ruled that Hageseth can be prosecuted in this state and local prosecutors expected him to voluntarily surrender.
Instead, in October, Sidney, Neb. police stopped him for allegedly speeding and learned of his outstanding arrest warrant.
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