published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Owner plans to reopen Catoosa clinic

Although its doctor was charged with writing illegal prescriptions, a Catoosa County weight-loss clinic plans to reopen once the owner finds another doctor, she said.

“I had no knowledge of any of that going on,” owner Michelle Turitto said Thursday. “If I had seen anything that was suspicious, I would have turned him in.”

Local and federal police on Tuesday raided Doctor’s Health Center on Cloud Springs Road, arresting Dr. Norman Neal and charging him with writing at least 29 illegal prescriptions for hydrocodone and Xanax.

After Neal was arrested, police shut the clinic until the investigation was complete, said Larry Black, commander of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force.

But the investigation targeted the doctor and not the business, Black said. Police don’t have reason to believe anyone else was involved, he said.

The clinic is within the city limits of Fort Oglethorpe, but City Manager Ron Goulart said officials haven’t received any information from police to suggest they should try to pull the clinic’s business license.

“If we felt like it was a threat to society, we could probably intervene and do something,” he said. “But we wouldn’t do that based on those allegations.”

Neal originally was given a $150,000 bond, but when police later charged him with unlawfully possessing controlled substances, which is a felony, a Catoosa County magistrate revoked his bond, authorities said.

Bond for felony charges must be issued by a Superior Court judge.

The drug task force, along with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office, began to investigate the clinic after it received complaints from family members and business owners about a high volume of traffic in the parking lot there, police said.

But Turitto, who works at the clinic she owns, said she didn’t notice any suspicious activity in the parking lot.

She said she plans to reopen once she finds another licensed doctor to run the business.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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dt4c said...

Weight loss clinic? Read the FDA website about HGH! Why are they even allowed to prescribe this? They all should be shut down. There is NOTHING that will work long term for weight loss except a sensible, HEALTHY diet that includes foods that are good for you and exercise. Nothing. Period.

November 24, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
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