Dr. Painless, Dr. Millionpills, Dr. Numb-it-all, Dr. Feel-good are all names for the 63-year-old pain management physician Dr. Joseph Giacchino who ran a lucrative practice prescribing powerful drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and other narcotics from his Melrose Park office.
He ran a good practice and proof of that is his $3 million mansion in River Forest, the two condos in River North, another condo in the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. A Bentley, a Mercedes and a Chevy Tahoe as rides and $1.6 million vacation spot in Newport Beach, California. Added to this he had been the ringside physician with the Illinois Boxing Commission since 1989, and has done almost 200 professional fights, including bouts on HBO. His trophy wife is Cuban esposa, Playboy’s Miss June 1998, Maria Luisa Gil, who is just 30 years younger than Giacchino.
In 1987 Giacchino was indicted by a Cook County grand jury on charges of overprescribing narcotics controlled substances but was acquitted and the state regulators stripped him of his medical license. Two years later his license was reinstated and soon after the probationary period he was back to prescribing painkillers once again.
The doctor had a good run until recently when the state of Illinois issued an emergency suspension of his license after being accused of overprescribing narcotics along with trading sex for drugs.
The State officials said that Giacchino wrote prescriptions for large quantities of various controlled drugs like Vicodin, Xanax, Norco, OxyContin and other narcotic drugs. The regulators accused that Giacchino gave out prescriptions without examining patients, and sometimes only after receiving sexual favors from them.
A patient who was identified only as GK alleged that she visited the physician on five separate occasions but there never any examination by the doctor instead Giacchino demanded oral sex or other such acts. She added that on the first visit he demanded oral sex and she thought he was joking till be unzipped his fly. Afterward, she received prescriptions for pain pills and antidepressants.
Pharmacist Michael Ferro, who works at a Walgreens at 106th and Halsted streets in Chicago testified that in one hour on one day, three young men in their 20s brought prescriptions for large amounts of Xanax, OxyContin and other drugs to the pharmacy all prescribed by Giacchino. When Ferro called the doctor for conformations, Giacchino said they suffered from degenerative joint disorder. And when the Ferro said he was uneasy filling the prescription, Giacchino said don’t fill it then.
Most part of the trial the colorfully dressed doctor spent scoffing and snorting while his wife Maria Luisa mocked the testimony of another witness. When a state official objected to this behavior, Maria had an outburst, and added that she would do as she pleased and they could leave if they didn’t like what they saw.
Mark Warpness, a special agent for the DEA stated that Giacchino had prescribed over a million in a year period. He added that they had stakeouts where agents watched gangs of young men head up to Giacchino’s clinics and leave with prescriptions for hundreds of pills. He added that these painkillers later ended up on the street to be sold illegally, soothing the nerves of drug abusers in Lincolnwood and Skokie. The agent also added that Giacchino had not cooperate with federal authorities in any probe.
The patient mentioned above, GK agreed to wear a wire for the DEA and the conversations were taped. On one such tape, GK expressed her need for Xanax and Vicodin with Giacchino and He suggested sex would make her feel better. He even offered her to take her pants off and lie on the table, GK denies claiming to have a stomachache and decided to pass.
The tape did get a reaction out of Maria Luisa whose take from the tape was if patient didn’t take up the offer of sex there’s no sex.
Giacchino even tried to get the media to hear his story. stating that he has a very large practice, with 2,700 patients and a million pill is reasonable given that number. He added that GK was lying and they were actually joking.
Giacchino’s license was suspended on an emergency basis.
The Administrative Law Judge, Sadzi Oliva and the Medical Disciplinary Board found there was sufficient cause to revoke both of Giacchino’s licenses. He may no longer practice but can seek judicial review on this matter after three years, and could seek restoration of his license by the Department, if he could demonstrate that he has been rehabilitated and could earn peoples trust.
Another lawsuit adds trouble in the Giacchino’s practice and this time the victim is Joe Norris.
Dr. Giacchino had put an already addicted Norris on a rainbow of prescription and bizarre regimen of cocktail of narcotics. The direct result of the strange and overwhelming cocktail of drugs impaired Norris’ judgement that he engaged in illegal behavior. The result was Norris made an unlawful decision to operate a motor vehicle while under influence of Giacchino’s drugs. This led to a traffic accident landing him in prison for 2-years and his two minor children became fatherless.
In 2010, Tim McArdle a prominent Chicago lawyer filed Norris’ lawsuit against Giacchino. It was settled for roughly $300,000.00.
Another case came to light this time Geraldine Klob who has similar issue with Giacchino. She too sought attorney McArdle’s help who has filed a lawsuit against Giacchino on behalf of Klob. The case is still pending.
Meanwhile Joseph Giacchino, rented a non-descript office building at 28 E. Burlington St., reportedly signing a five-year lease for the premises and the clinic was opened the following January.
When the media got in touch with Giacchino he quickly pointed out that he was not allowed to practice medicine, treat patients or prescribe medications and was an administrator for the clinic.
In 2012, Giacchino paid out three separate settlements resulting from medical malpractice suits, including one for $300,000, this was documented by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
In June 2011, Giacchino’s medical license was revoked, he filed suit against the agency, on charges that the department had deprived him of due process and demanded that his license be reinstated. Giacchino lost that suit but appealed the ruling to the Illinois Appellate Court.
In the meantime, Giacchino subleased the space he has rented in Melrose Park Clinic, Riverside to a medical corporation that were a business long associated with Giacchino.
Giacchino was president of the said corporation till his license was suspended and since the Dr. Paul Madison took over as president. Giacchino confirmed that Madison was the doctor treating patients at the new Riverside location. Madison, who is also a pain management specialist who also operates a medical clinic in Michigan City, Ind., has an equally controversial background.
A federal jury handed a 14-count indictment against Madison and a nurse employed at Madison’s former medical office in Chicago. Madison was accused of submitting almost $3.6 million in false medical bills to 10 private health insurance companies and the federal worker’s compensation program. Insurance companies lost almost $800,000 as a result of the fraud scheme. Madison pleaded not guilty and is licensed to practice medicine in Illinois despite the indictment.
When media asked Giacchino what he would do if Madison lost his license to which Giacchino said he would look for another doctor and added that there was 18-24 months before the verdict is reached in the Madison matter and that they were keeping it a low-key affair. By the end of 2012 Giacchino said his lease on the space was up and was too expensive to continue, also they didn’t want to terminate the lease and it just expired.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hatem Galal, who had his office building at 28 E. Burlington St. was retiring. Galal claim to have known Giacchino since the two were residents together at Loyola University Medical Center. Galal retired at the end of 2012 and he along with the two other practices moved out of the building making way for Giacchino.
Galal added that he intended to sell the building for the right offer and along came Giacchino who offered a good lease and Galal was generating some income. The details of the lease are not known but it is for five years with options. Galal has no problems renting the space to someone with a controversial past.
Local police are aware of the new pain clinic opening at 28 E. Burlington St., and Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said his officers pay attention to it and that a patrol alert has been issued to all officers and sergeants and they pay special attention to everyone coming and going from this location. He also added that they have shared this information with other police agencies too.
No criminal activity has been reported but the police are alert. When a suspicious looking hooded man was reported in the neighborhood the Police questioned him. The man changed his story a couple of times before claiming that he has been waiting for his girlfriend, who was at 28 E. Burlington St.
Police landed at the address and found the female waiting inside a vehicle there. She told police that she had an appointment at the clinic and got a prescription for the pain medication Norco, which she needs for a bad back. The police didn’t find evidence for criminal activity and send Both on their way.