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Westmoreland

Former North Huntingdon doctor heads to trial for two drug delivery resulting in death cases

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, 5:57 p.m.
Dr. Michel Toret of Jeannette is charged with two counts of drug delivery resulting in death on Dec. 1, 2017.
Dr. Michel Toret of Jeannette is charged with two counts of drug delivery resulting in death on Dec. 1, 2017.

A former family practice doctor in North Huntingdon who was charged last year with overprescribing narcotics that caused the deaths of two patients in 2016 waived his right to preliminary hearings Wednesday.

The cases will head to Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court.

Agents from the state Attorney General's Office charged Dr. Michel P. Toret, 71, of Jeannette in December with two counts of drug delivery resulting in death, manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, illegally providing prescriptions after his license was surrendered, and violating accepted treatment principles in the medical profession.

His preliminary hearing scheduled before District Judge Wayne Gongaware was waived to court for trial. Toret was ordered to appear for formal arraignment March 3 before Judge Meagan A. Bilik-DeFazio, according to online court documents.

He remains free on $5,000 unsecured bond.

Toret had practiced medicine more than 40 years and voluntarily surrendered his medical license in November 2016 after the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration began inquiries into his prescribing practices, according to online records.

Toret is accused of overprescribing methadone, a narcotic, to Heather Dervin, 26, of North Huntingdon, who died Sept. 6, 2016, and oxymorphone to Glenn Morgan, 30, of Level Green, who died Oct. 10, 2016, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Jerry Vernail, an agent with the Attorney General's Office.

Toret was the second former physician in Westmoreland County to be charged with drug delivery resulting in death. In February, state agents charged Dr. Edgar Derek Peske, 79, of Hempfield with prescribing Nicole Henderson, 30, of Unity with methadone that caused her death.

Peske is awaiting trial in the spring.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib

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