United States of America v. C. Douglas Wood, M.D.

Court:United States District Court for the Easter District of Oklahoma
Case No:CR-98-003-S
Plaintiff:C. Douglas Wood, M.D.

In one of the few criminal prosecutions of a physician for wrongful death of his patient, Dr. Wood was called to defend himself to a charge of first degree murder. Dr. Wood was indicted for allegedly causing the death of his patient “willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and maliceaforethought” by injecting him with potassium chloride (KCL). Dr. Wood had previously operated on the patient after he presented to the emergency room for a perforated viscous. Dr. Wood treated the patient over the following week. Dr. Wood defended his actions on the morning in question by stating that he was treating an emergent condition that required extreme measures. The government called four medical experts in the matter and the defense called three local physicians to testify on behalf of Dr. Wood.

Outcome:

Dr. Wood was convicted of the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. The conviction was appealed to the Tenth circuit court of Appeals, which overturned the conviction and remanded the case for re-trial. Prior to re-trial, the government dismissed the case and did not proceed further.