NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - On Saturday, patients were left in the lurch with no one to turn to after their doctor was arrested.
Dr. Matthew Bennett's North Tonawanda office was raided and the physician was arrested on Friday, charged with selling powerful painkillers, and sometimes bartering prescriptions for everything from toilet paper to a new gas grill. But what can patients who depended on his service for legitimate care do now?
Jim Geschwender said, "Nobody wants to help people who legitimately want to straighten their lives up. Do they want everybody to turn back to drugs? I don't know what to do from here."
And Geschwender isn't only. Though Dr. Bennett was allegedly selling prescriptions to some, he also was treating patients with legitimate medical conditions. With his office now closed, they have no access to care and many, including those who turned up for Bennett's regular Saturday Suboxone clinic, are panicking.
Jessica Holm said, "We were actually under his care because we were forced out of a doctor's office who refused to care for my children after I elected to have a home birth. Dr. Bennett has been willing to take care of my family ever since, and has done an excellent job."
Joshua Cave added, "I drive two hours to come here. Two hours one way. So I do four hours every Saturday, once a month, and he was the only doctor after spending six months locating, this is the only doctor I could get into."
Since Bennett was busted by the DEA, News 4 has heard from dozens of his patients asking that same question. They don't know where to turn now for help.
"There's a note on the door saying to go to the E.R. The E.R.'s do not treat people on Suboxone, nor do they have Suboxone," said Cave.
Robin added, "Now I'm not going to get my blood pressure medicine. I've had a stroke, and I'm on medication for that, and I'm not going to get that. I don't know where to go anymore and I know there's a lot of people who are in the same situation I am. I don't know. I've called other doctors. They don't want any part of anyone that's gone to Dr. Bennett."
Holm said, "I just hoped he can come back to the community and help us because I don't know a doctor that is really as caring as this man."
"It's more than disheartening. This is the worse possible that could have happened," Geschwender said.
If you are one of Dr. Bennett's displaced patients and have a true medical emergency, if you need immediate medical attention, or if you are in need of a prescription, you need to visit an urgent care facility or an emergency room.
However, if you are looking for a referral to a new doctor, Crisis Services can assist you. Their number is 716-834-3131
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
A second arrest has now been made in connection to a suspected meth lab on Saunders Settlement Road in Cambria.
Minor Lk Snow develops & shifts south. Lake Snow increases later Tue north & settles south.
The Erie County Water Authority is warning the public about people posing as water meter service workers.
A City of Buffalo employee who was arrested over the weekend on animal cruelty charges says he did nothing wrong.
A former doctor from Youngstown who admitted obtaining prescription pills through fraud will surrender his medical license.