TRIAL VERDICT: Dr. Baldi Not Guilty On All Charges

A Polk County jury has returned a not guilty verdict in the manslaughter trial of a Des Moines doctor.

Dr. Daniel Baldi was being tried on seven counts of involuntary manslaughter for the drug-related deaths of seven former patients. Three other counts of involuntary manslaughter were dropped during the trial.

Baldi was visibly emotional as he was found not guilty on all seven charges.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon and reached its verdict Thursday.

Prosecutors in the case said Dr. Baldi over-prescribed pain killers leading to deadly overdoses.

“The evidence in this case shows the defendant acted recklessly how he treated these patients and as a result they died,” prosecutor Celene Gogerty told the jury in closing statements.

The defense claimed the patients who died did not have drugs prescribed by Baldi in their systems at the time of their deaths.

Defense attorney Guy Cook addressed the jury during closing arguments, saying “Dr. Baldi is not guilty of each and every one of these cases, he did his best, he is not reckless, even if you think he did not do his best, what he did, did not cause the death of these patients.”

After two full days of deliberations, the jury agreed.

“I’m happy it’s done. I can turn this chapter over and start another part of my life,” Dr. Baldi told Channel 13.

When asked what the first thing he’s going to do, he responded, “I’m going to sleep.”

Dr. Baldi says he will wait to make a decision on whether to practice again.

“I don’t know,” Bald said, “I love practicing, I love medicine and I love everything associated with it.”

Baldi’s attorney Guy Cook called the case sad and said he had empathy for the families of the deceased. Adding, “But this man had nothing to do with and the jury has vindicated him in that regard today.”

Baldi’s medical license has been suspended until the outcome of the trial. A decision whether it will be reinstated has yet to be made.

23 comments

  • Mari Silver

    I continue to be amazed that this trial even happened. But the verdict gives me hope that those of us with chronic pain and those whose life work is to help us still can move forward with effective pain management.

  • Nathan

    I am so happy for Dr. Baldi. He is a great doctor and a compassionate man. He treated me as a patient with dignity and respect and got me to a point where I am now able to need few to no pain meds. The people who pressed charges should be ashamed. I wish you the best Dr. Baldi!

    • WITTE

      AMAN THIS IS ONE HAPPY DAY FOR A LOT OF US HE WAS THERE TO HELP US WITH PAIN NOT TO OD OR TAKE OUR LIFES THERE IS A GOD

  • Alyssa Frideres

    So glad to see that the jury used common sense and made the correct verdict! I pray that Dr. Baldi is able to continue to practice medicine and care for those people that suffer from dibilitating conditions. I also pray for the families of those that died – that they are able to move on, knowing their loved one is pain-free and in the care of God and his angels.

  • steve

    Once again tax payers money was wasted on a over zealous prosecutor who could not prove 1 person died from the drugs the doctor had prescribed. Sadly more wasted money on show because if a celebrity death who was a drug addicted person not from prescription medication

  • WITTE

    HE MAY BE SET FREE BUT HE WILL LIVE WITH THIS FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE AND ITS NOT FARE HE WAS –IS A DAM GOOD DOCTOR BLESS HIM AND HIS FAMILY STATE OF IOWA ONCE AGAIN YOU F-ED UP SOME ONES LIFE

  • brancie

    Dr.Baldi was the first Dr that wud listen to me and how I felt, he gave me injections in my spine that helped greatly… it took me 6 months and a long painful 6 months to find a Dr. that would even see me.. I think he is an awesome Dr. and I would return to his care without thinking twice…you are a great man Dr.Baldi

  • The truth

    This entire trial was misguided by the judge the entire time. Brandt disallowed fifteen of the prosecutions key witnesses, denied the states toxicologist, denied all ten pharmacists who initially complained, threw out evidence and records because they were “prejudicial”. The jury wasn’t privy to even 10% of the states evidence. This judge was bullied by Guy Cook.

    Somehow the judge saw fit to allow “expert” Dr. Lynn Webster testify on Baldi’s behalf despite the fact that he is under investigation himself by the DEA for the death of 20 of his patients. The judge did not allow the prosecutor to bring it up during trial. Webster also blamed his nurse so I’m sure that’s how Cook came up with the defense strategy.

    The “other practitioner” who overprescribed large amounts of drugs was actually Baldi’s nurse, Karen Mellody, and she told the board of nursing that Dr. Baldi was in charge and that she followed his prescriptive practice to the letter and that Baldi signed all the pain contracts.

    Mellody also told the Board that when patients tested hot that they were directed not to document anything in the patients charts. Insurance will not pay for addicts who abuse the system.

    Thanks Judge for the miscarriage of justice!!! I feel so sorry for the families of the 56 people who died at the hands of Baldi.

    • jcrn

      If this is truly how you feel about this man, I pray you and your loved ones never experience uncontrolled chronic pain. So many physicians choose not to listen to their patients or educate themselves on true pain control because it scares them. Hopefully this case will encourage more of them to really understand the physiology of their patient’s needs.

    • Matthew

      HMMM, I wonder why they didn’t want to document the fact that patients were testing dirty for illegal substances and abusing their meds? Because if you document that patients are abusing and you still give them drugs YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!

  • JIm Jones

    The days when chronic pain patients such as cancer sufferers could receive medicine for chronic pain are over. As the highly politicized medical board showed in the abortion case, they are totally beholden to the governor. This trial was designed to make it easy for the board to revoke Baldi’s license without a hearing. They will still do so since the governor will demand it.

  • Jason

    Congratulations to Dr. Baldi. I know Dr. Baldi personally and have practiced side by side with him in residency and found him to be an outstanding physician of impeccable character. He may have been found not guilty today but sadly, he will forever deal with the stigma of being associated with this trial; not to mention the civil lawsuits that are sure to follow it. He once told me that being a physician was something that ‘no one could ever take away’ from me. The state of Iowa did their very best to try. I wish him the best in whatever he does from here.

  • Rebecca Hergert

    I don’t know who this QUACK is, but my advice to you pal is, you better leave the State of Iowa.
    Cause you got some enemy’s out there now!!

    (I received NO pain medicine given to me last summer from my physician/ physical therapy on arm & shoulder or last Saturday-ER-Boone County Hospital)

    • Sally

      Rebecca, could you clear up your comments? you think Baldi is a quack or you think someone who accused him is a quack?

      You are mad because Boone ER didn’t give you medication for your arm and shoulder? What does that have to do with Baldi? Trials like this one, even though Baldi was found ‘not guilty’ is ,sadly, going to make it much harder for those with chronic pain to get medications I feel. Doctors will be afraid to prescribe the things you really need.

      I had a friend that nearly died for an OD of pain killers. guess what, it was HIS fault, not his doctors. He took 4 times what he was supposed to take because it didn’t react fast enough. Dr’s can’t be with each patient every time to make sure they take the medication as prescribed.

  • Linda Anderson

    Dr. Baldi was my doctor for over 6 years and never once did I witness a patient getting his/her med early. And believe me when you sit in the waiting room you here or see patients trying to get meds early. Never once did I see some one get them early, try as they may.
    I am sad that the career of a wonderful doctor has been ruined. What a waste of Iowa court time. No evidence at all in any case
    of him being guilty. Shame on the legal system for alloying cases like these to go forward.
    I think they were trying to make an example out of him.
    God Bless you Dr. Baldi and I hope you find happiness in whatever you choose to do with the rest of your life. I am glad I had such good care in my 6 years as your patient.

  • jeff

    Dr. Baldi treated me for 5 years and was always very caring and professional. When I started going to him I could barely walk and was always in constant pain, thanks to him I am able to get around a lot better and my pain is manageable and it was done without a bunch of pain medication. I hope whatever he chooses to do career wise I hope this doesn’t deter him from helping people in some way because he is a very caring and compassionate person. And thanks to the State of Iowa for ruining some ones reputation and wasting taxpayers money.

  • Healthcare Guy

    Every physician in the metro area knew Dr. Baldi as someone who would take anyone on, and subsequently, everyone sent their drug seekers and addicts to him to get them off their case load. In my opinion, I believe he was a bit of a “fall guy” for the other practitioners in the area. Every physician knows the risks of providing palliative level care, especially to populations who knowingly seek out and abuse it for recreational purposes.

    Most doctors would not wager their license and privilege to practice to cater to that type of population.

    That does not mean all of his patients were abusing the system, but a large number of them were.

    Dr. Baldi dodged a bullet here.

  • Rebecca Hergert

    Gee Sally, you better lighten-up here!!
    I’m NOT mad anyone!!
    We got excellent doctors up our way here!!
    My husband knows, ‘it’s getting sticky with this subject’!!!
    If you can’t read & follow directions, then you better get a nurse to take care of ya!!
    Some people need to take responsibility here!! And be held accountable!!

  • Robert

    Drug Task Force announced that since the closer of the Iowa Health Pain Clinic that prescription drug diversion is down 98% in the Des Moines metro area.

    He may have hired the best attorney in town but that doesn’t mean he’s innocent.

  • Brenda

    I’m glad Dan is back in business no other doctors will help me because of my history of addictoin other docs needs to realize that people make mistakes and just because I used to abuse hydros doesn’t mean I don’t need them now with my bad back.

  • Matthew

    Headline should read, “Drug Dealer Freed by Clueless Jury”.

    If you know they are addicts then why are you giving them more drugs? That is the most reckless thing I’ve ever heard of in my entire life.

  • Matthew

    Baldi wasn’t operating a drug treatment center he was a pain management doctor. All across the nation doctors are being charged for giving narcs out to known addicts after they OD but not here in good ‘ol pill popping Iowa. Here we just scream personal responsibility and forget that doctors are well trained and know full well the dangers of overprescribing dangerous drugs. The irony here is mind boggling! This doctor probably made a lot of money drawing hundreds of patients to his clinic. “If you build it, they will come”.

    That’s why other doctors were firing these people as patients! Didn’t any of the jurors wonder why the hospital fired Baldi and closed the clinic in the first place?

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