Dr. Frankenstein –
July 27, 2020 – A disheveled Rosen sat in the jury box at his preliminary hearing of Monday, July 20, black glasses perched crookedly atop his white face mask, unruly salt-and-pepper stubble blanketing his cheeks. Beneath his orange jail uniform, a chain snaked around his waist. His handcuffs were attached.
That image of the mighty doctor brought low is small comfort to parents like Debbie Berry of Ashland, Missouri, who wants to make sure Rosen never practices medicine again.
“My first question was, ‘Is he going to be charged with manslaughter?’ ” asked Berry, whose son Brennen died with a naltrexone implant inside him in February 2018. Two months earlier, Rosen billed $59,000 to Berry’s insurance for the procedure.
Naltrexone binds to the brain’s opioid receptors, blunting an opioid high. It’s designed to be part of a comprehensive program to address addiction, not as a cure in and of itself. But prosecutors say that’s not how Rosen used it. Instead, they say, he performed as many as 72 procedures in a single day, with the quickest surgery lasting just one minute.
“Paying for patients turns the patients into a commodity and treats them as ATM machines. The doctor ends up treating the patient as a way to make money instead of treating the patients’ best interests,” prosecutors said.
Berry learned that her son was paid $1,000 to get the implant.
“To me, if you give an addict something like that, they’re just going to do more to get the buzz,” Berry said. “My son thought he had that security blanket in him, that it would save him. And it didn’t.”