Doctor accused of over-prescribing opioids admitted to hospital

Photo by Zeinab Najm Steve Haney (left), attorney for Dr. Mohammad Derani, and Assistant Michigan Attorney General Daniel Magee appear in front of 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers for a probable cause hearing on Sept. 1.

Photo by Zeinab Najm
Steve Haney (left), attorney for Dr. Mohammad Derani, and Assistant Michigan Attorney General Daniel Magee appear in front of 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers for a probable cause hearing on Sept. 1.

 

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The probable cause hearing for Dr. Mohammad Derani, 67, and his office assistant, Zahra Alwajed, 20, was adjourned after the doctor was unable to appear in court because he was hospitalized.

During the originally scheduled probable cause hearing in front of 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers on Sept. 1 Derani’s defense attorney, Steve Haney, said the doctor was taken to the hospital on Aug. 31 following a breakdown.

Haney said Derani underwent neurological testing at Henry Ford Hospital-West Bloomfield on Sept. 1 following the breakdown and will receive treatment at Beaumont Hospital-Farmington Hills.

Derani did not appear in court and underwent medical examination on Sept. 1 which determined he could not make medical or financial decisions for himself and that he is a harm to himself and others.

Doctors also said he is not mentally competent to stand trial. State Assistant Attorney General Daniel Magee asked Somers for a court mental competency exam, which he said he would consider.

Somers said the mental health petition raises eyebrows because it was filed on Aug. 31 but was not shown as filed in the Oakland County court system and did not show hospitalization was voluntary or involuntary.

The clinical certification, however, was completed by doctors on the morning of Sept. 1 at Henry Ford Hospital.

The probable cause hearing for both Alwajed and Derani was adjourned to 9 a.m. on Sept. 8 in front of Somers.

Both were charged with over-prescribing opioids to patients at the Dearborn Medical Clinic, 15401 W. Warren Ave.

At the arraignment Aug. 18 in front of 19th District Court Judge Gene Hunt, Derani, 67, was charged with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance and placed under a $250,000 bond.

Prosecutors believe Derani is a flight risk because of his recent travel to Syria and Turkey along with his plans to travel to Saudi Arabia.

He will have to wear a GPS tether if bond is posted and cannot travel outside the state of Michigan.

Alwajed was charged with four counts of aiding and abetting in the delivery of controlled substances and held on a $25,000 bond. She, too, will have to wear a GPS tether if bond is posted and she cannot travel outside Michigan.

When asked if she had a passport Alwajed said that she had lost it and because she did not have a history of traveling she was not considered a flight risk. Hunt told her not to apply for a new passport.

Alwajed was charged as a habitual offender because she was convicted in May of attempting to commit a felony.

Michigan State Police conducted the raid the morning of Aug. 17 at Dearborn Medical Clinic, where Derani allegedly over-prescribed opioids to patients including adderall, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

About eight law enforcement vehicles were on the scene just after 9 a.m. to execute a search warrant after a 45-day investigation was completed.

Officers blocked the entrance to the building and blocked Warren Avenue from the clinic to Greenfield Road delaying drivers.

MSP then completed a raid at Derani’s house in West Bloomfield.

MSP Lt. Michael Shaw said people would line up in the middle of the night for the clinic that opened at 7 a.m. causing a disturbance to the neighborhood.

An investigation determined that since January the doctor at the clinic allegedly prescribed 500,000 opioid pills which would end up on the streets.

Information came from the community who told Dearborn police that several patients would stand in line for hours at the clinic waiting to see the doctor.

Following the raid, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs suspended Derani’s medical license.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)