Patients testify on Schneider's behalf

A former Haysville police chief, a Wichita firefighter, a truck driver and a mother testified Wednesday that they were satisfied with the medical care they received from Stephen Schneider.

As the defense began its fourth day of presenting evidence, the testimony from former patients contrasted with that put forth by prosecution witnesses who said Schneider enabled their addiction to drugs.

Schneider, a former Haysville physician, and his wife, Linda Schneider, a nurse, face federal charges stemming from their practices of prescribing painkillers. Linda was a licensed practical nurse who helped manage the clinic.

Michael Hadley, a Wichita firefighter, said Schneider helped save his daughter's life by discovering her cancer quickly and getting her treatment within days.

Hadley said Schneider had served as his family's primary care physician since about 2000. When his daughter reached her freshman year in high school, she developed a lump on her neck.

Hadley said his wife called the clinic the next day and Schneider worked her into the schedule. Schneider ordered an X-ray, then an MRI.

Wesley Medical Center officials said it might take a while to get the girl in, Hadley testified, but after a call from Schneider, there was an appointment the next day.

The girl had stage 2 cancer of her lymph nodes, Hadley said. Schneider sent them to an oncologist.

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, Lortab, Soma and Xanax. Other patients who died of drug overdoses received a similar combination.

"If you take it like you're 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.