WICHITA — A former Haysville police chief, Wichita firefighter, a truck driver and mother were among witnesses testifying on behalf of Stephen Schneider this morning.
Schneider, a former Haysville physician, and his wife are on trial on federal charges stemming from their practices of prescribing painkillers.
During the prosecution's case, former patients testified that Schneider enabled them to become addicted to narcotics.
Today, patients testified Schneider simply helped them overcome illnesses.
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Michael Hadley, a Wichita firefighter, said Schneider helped save his daughter's life by discovering her cancer quickly and getting her treatment within days.
James Kitchings, a former Haysville police chief, said he and his wife attended the Schneider Medical Clinic for back pain.
"Dr. Schneider always has been very attentive and down to earth," Kitchings said. "I call him cowboy-like in his approach."
"Did Dr. Schneider help you?" defense attorney Lawrence Williamson asked.
"I got rid of my back pain," Kitchings said.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Tanya Treadway pointed out that most of the witnesses weren't on long-term pain treatment.
The Schneiders are charged with 34 criminal counts, including violating the Controlled Substances Act, health care fraud and money laundering.
They are charged with contributing to the overdose deaths of 68 patients.
One witness, identified only by her first name to protect her medical privacy, said Schneider treated her for pain from cancer and from several car accidents.
"Did he tell you he'd had patients overdose?" Treadway asked.
"No," the woman said.
"Did he tell you he'd had patients die?" Treadway said.
The woman said he didn't.
But the woman also testified that under Schneider she received a variety of pain narcotics, including methadone, Lortabs, Soma and Xanax.
It was a combination similar to other patients who had died of drug overdoses.
"If you take it like your supposed to, nothing bad will happen," she said.
Without the medicine, the woman said, some days she couldn't walk down stairs. With the medication, she's able to attend her children's sporting events and functions.
Since the Schneider clinic closed, the woman said she's been seeing another doctor.
"And I'm taking the same medicines, without the methadone," she said.
The trial is continuing in its sixth week before U.S. District Judge Monti Belot.