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Dr. Noel Chua: Victim of Southern Injustice

PerryScope
Perry Diaz

On December 15, 2005, Dr. Noel Chua, a Filipino-American internal medicine specialist, walked into his home in St. Marys, Georgia and found the dead body of James Carter III, a 20-year old Caucasian man, on the floor of a bathroom. What happened after that incident had irreversibly damaged Dr. Chua’s unblemished reputation for the rest of his life. Dr. Chua and his supporters believe that he was unfairly treated -- nay, victimized! -- by no less than the judicial system of the State of Georgia.

On September 13, 2006, after a lengthy investigation, Camden County grand jury indicted Dr. Chua for two counts of felony murder -- for the same person -- and 17 counts of violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act. Consequently, Dr. Chua was denied bail and was jailed in neighboring Glynn County, a move that was never explained by the authorities. On November 2, 2006, after his lawyers filed a motion, Dr. Chua was returned to Camden County Jail.

Who was James Carter III? In my email interview with Dr. Chua -- I could not reach him at the county jail by telephone -- he said: “He (Carter) started out as a patient who became an employee in my medical office. Presented himself as very smart and friendly student and had invited me and my cousin to his parents’ separate homes. I was treating him for his long history of severe migraines and had to be hospitalized twice under my care for that condition. His past medical history reveals extensive work-up and numerous hospitalizations and ER visits for the same condition.”

Dr. Chua said that they charged him for every medication that he prescribed to Carter as a felony because they had Carter’s medical record from his office reviewed by another doctor, who never saw Carter and subsequently concluded that there was no medical reason for Dr. Chua’s prescriptions. He said further: “The extensive past medical records of the patient that my lawyers were able to obtain at a later time showed that the patient has been tried on about every medication that I also tried but nothing really gave him any long lasting relief. My civil lawyers (after the family filed a civil suit) also found out that the patient had been seeing a drug rehab doctor even prior to his initial visit in my office. Nobody will be able to provide any evidence that there had been any communication between my office and the rehab doctor’s office since this fact was hidden from me by the patient and his family members that had given me a warm reception in their homes.”

Dr. Chua said that the toxicology report showed that Carter had multiple drugs in his system, even drugs that he never prescribed to him. Dr. Chua also said that he warned Carter never to mix his prescriptions with any other drugs. In addition, he said that the autopsy report showed “evidence of sudden intense elevation of pressure in his head similar to something seen on people that were strangled.” He said: “This can only come from injecting something that raised his blood pressure intensely or assuming a very awkward position after a sudden death which is contrary to a slow death experienced by people simply dying of a drug overdose.”

“They charged me with two murders for one dead body blaming the overdose on me,” Dr. Chua lamented. “Not satisfied with that, they charged me with racketeering which gave them the power to seize all my assets. It’s obviously a dirty, sleazy trick to grab all my money and properties so I will not be able to afford any defense on my part.”

The case was set for trial in November 2006; however, the District Attorney was unable to proceed with prosecuting the case. The trial date was postponed every month since then. Meanwhile, Dr. Chua is still in jail. It seems that the wheel of justice in Georgia is moving very slowly... and backward as well. As someone once said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Recently, Dr. Chua said that during a preliminary hearing, his lawyers were able to get one of the murder charges dismissed. It boggles my mind why they charged him for two counts of murder for the death of one person? Dr .Chua said that at the present time the District Attorney is “begging the federal attorney to take over the case and pursue the drug charges.” As one of his supporters said, “Dr. Chua is being railroaded.”

Evidently, the District Attorney has a weak case against Dr. Chua and is passing it on to the federal attorney. The District Attorney offered a plea bargain of two years in a probation detention center and banishment from Camden County. However, Dr. Chua refused the offer. He said that he’d rather be imprisoned than admit to a lie. But harm had already been done. Dr .Chua said, “Unfortunately for me, even if I am exonerated later they have already confined me for eight months and had stopped me from working. They have published my face and name as a murderer in the world wide web. Fortunately, all my friends know the real me and I know God knows the truth.”

Dr. Chua’s supporters are growing in numbers. “FREE DR. CHUA” and “FREE THE GOOD DOCTOR” signs have appeared in Camden County. One of his supporters faxed me clippings of several letters to the editors in support of Dr. Chua. Renee Manning wrote: “Dr. Chua was the physician that cared for my daughter who has juvenile diabetes. He is the doctor that wept for us as we struggled with this life-altering disease. He is the doctor that took my daughter to the hospital to show her some of his patients that had been affected by this disease in order to show her how important it was to take care of her body. This is the doctor that gave my daughter his cell phone number and the doctor that answered that cell phone at 3 in the morning when she called him and needed to talk to someone.”

Dr .Chua is not only a good doctor; he is a good Samaritan as well. In today’s dog-eat-dog world, Dr. Chua has demonstrated that he takes his Hippocratic Oath seriously. He went out of his way for his patients. And he did it for James Carter III. The 47-year old Dr. Chua has an impeccable personal and professional background. He was a high school valedictorian, magna cum laude in Medical Technology, Number 1 in the Med-Tech Board in 1987, and a consistent honor student. He graduated from the Far Eastern University Medical School in Manila, Number 11 in the Medical Board, and worked for six months as a missionary doctor in Palawan. He had highest distinction honors after completing his Master’s degree in Health Care Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

The death of James Carter III was unfortunate but what happened to Dr .Noel Chua was abominably heinous. Southern justice -- or injustice -- of the Jim Crow era is still very much alive in Georgia today. Dr. Chua’s words to me were foreboding: “Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination are not going to disappear from the landscape for several generations more. Not until everybody becomes color blind.” Yes, Georgia, the state where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born -- whose state motto is "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation" -- has yet to judge people by the content of their character and not by their color.

PerryDiaz@aol.com

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Dear Readers,

The following are readers' comments on "Dr. Noel Chua: Victim of Southern Injustice." Feel free to send your comments or articles to share with the readers. The original article is reprinted at the end for your reference.

Best,

Perry

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Dear Perry,

Thanks for fighting for my cause. I am tempted to fax to you what I consider as one of my strongest piece of evidences if not the strongest. When the patient, James Carter, went to the pharmacy at one time to fill his prescription, the pharmacist asked him why he was having frequent changes in his medications. He stated that they were not working and the doctor was destroying the previous prescriptions/medications. The pharmacist documented this conversation on that prescription.

Also the weeks following my arrest, my patients and friends reported to me that several members of the grand jury that gave the indictment on me were upset because they felt that they were misled by the DA's office and the investigator of the police department. Of course, Ricky Ricardo was right when he said that a DA can indict even a ham sandwich. I don't know if it would be legal for us to get a statement from any of the grand jury members to find out how they were misled and what sort of evidences were withheld from them similar to what Nifong did in North Carolina. I am sure they were not shown that prescription and the extensive medical records of the patient.

Then you know about how they maliciously/illegally shipped me to another county jail to be mistreated there. Then they plundered my bank accounts. I am so hopeful that a DA like this could be fully exposed. What do you think we should do?

Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it. The lawyer helping me to recover my medical license was very pleased with your article and is going to send a copy of it to the PA board of medicine. May God bless you and your whole family.

Noel

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Perry, when we accept that racism is here to stay for generations to come, we have in fact articulated a belief that the soul of America is long gone and will be gone for generations to come.

Instead, as naive as I get, as polyannish I might be, I like to believe in the wisdom of the justice system, the reasonable decision to be made by 12 jurors who will take their duty seriously and a defense lawyer that will take on this challenge, even if the pursuit of truth takes awhile.

Dr. Chua's actions can be viewed two ways. One school of thought, based on materialism and medical service in pursuit of that goal, Dr. Chua's actions will not be supported by that school of thought. It is not in accordance with standard practice of medicine that is based on 8-5 pm, Monday – Friday mode and limited by rules of HMO reimbursement and physicians are not allowed to care beyond those boundaries.

Another school of thought, based on caring for another human being, and taking one's Hippocrates Oath seriously, Dr. Chua's actions underline his genuine care, compassion and the pursuit of care and cures to alleviate the suffering of another human being. Given his holistic beliefs, he saw it to be a circle of care and a continuum of compassion not limited by barriers imposed by profit motives. I pray Dr. Chua gets his fair share of justice and that the judicial decision be on the right side of truth!

Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D.

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Perry,

I have several questions about this unfortunate case -- so tragic for Dr. Chua.

Remember the Duke lacrosse team case and the DA's embarrassment ! ? ! The same may apply in this Georgia case.

What is the Georgia Medical Assoc.'s stand on this medical case? What about Dr. Chua's malpractice insurance carrier? Did he get support from both or either? Was he abandoned to fend for himself?

Dr. Chua may have justifiable cause to sue the DA, the Georgia state and the county, the Georgia Medical Assoc. and his insurance carrier for -- false accusations, miscarriage of justice and prolonged incarceration, pain and suffering, abandonment of defense and even legal malpractice for poor support and defense for allowing long incarceration and abuse of his rights.

I am not a lawyer, but a concerned citizen against injustice.

Ben Oteyza

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If the facts as presented are true, then this is truly a miscarriage of justice. Perhaps, after the case is dismissed, Dr. Chua may have reason to sue for civil rights violation, unlawful imprisonment, racial discrimination, and be compensated accordingly.

=======================

From the files of Dr. Chua's case it shows that American Justice is a lot of bullshit. Tell those who intend to settle there to stay clear of that backward State. Let's hope that one day he will be cleared of those trump-up charges and my advice to the good Doctor is get a better lawyer and file counter charges of malfeasance and misfeasance against all those people who thought they are above the law of a Nation whose Constitution is anchored on Liberty, Justice & Democratic Ideals. Tell the world that Georgia does not belong to the Union of the United States of America; that it is still a "Hickory, backward community" that is even lesser than our own country.

Juan Jose Regino

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Dear Perry,

Injustice is common in the USA.

Most recently :

1. The District Attorney who prosecuted the Duke University athletes

was found guilty of over ten counts of Frauds and improper conduct.

His Attorney license was removed.

The District Attorney was Mike Nifong. His hearing : 2007.

2. The District Attorney and investigative Staff in Du Page County, Illinois

were convicted of Prosecutorial misconduct in the case of :

Mr. Bustamante and Mr. Hernandez. These two were sent to

State Prison after they were convicted of crimes they did not commit.

Thanks to a journalist like you who investigated the case.

The journalist was Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune.

Because of his research, both of these persons were released from

State prison.

For about two years , they were on Death Row.

They were released after about Ten Years in prison.

A movie was made about their case. This was shown nationwide on

Cable TV , Channel A and E , under the title : American Justice.

It was produced by : Bill Kurtis productions.

3. There are numerous cases of prisoners released prison recently

Thanks to DNA tests.

4. The Governor of Illinois , Mr. Ryan was convicted of crimes and is

now serving in Federal Prison.

5. The Governor of Louisiana, I think his name is Edwards is serving

in Federal prison. He was convicted of crimes in relation to the

49 ers football team , including testimony of De Bartolo.

6. Congressman Cunningham of San Diego is in Federal prison.

He was convicted recently of crimes.

Sincerely,

Lino Dial, MD

California

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Hi Perry,

Thank you so much for the article about Noel. He deserves better than what he is getting right now. I will ask my friends to continue to pray for him. I hope our NaFFAA Georgia chapter has done something about him.

Say hello to your lovely wife.

My Warmest Regards

Sen Martin, MD

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Dear Perry,

I wonder what the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador to the USA are doing to correct the injustice done on Dr. Noel Chua. Although he may no longer be a Filipino citizen, as the case may be, I guess, he still deserves protection from our government, he being a natural born Filipino. Would it not be appropriate for all freedom-loving Fil-Americans, Americans and Filipino nationals to petition the State of Georgia to correct the gross injustice and immediately release Dr. Chua? May we, therefore, request you and your BALITA-USA to spearhead the petition.

Thank you so much.

All the best,

Armando B. Aspiras

=======================

--- In Filam-Forum@yahoogroups.com, Emiliano Garchitorena

wrote:

presuming that Dr. Chua is a Filipino & the Filipino embassy exert all its possible support and get him acquitted. will he return to Philippines and practice there. ?

Emiliano Garchitorena

=======================

Hi, Perry,

Still, the Jim Crow bias is alive. Dr. Noel Chua should be helped by NaFFAA,

OCA, or APAA.

There is really a silent discrimination against the minority. It is against the law but not against reality.

There are many, including mainstream or Caucasian doctors who looked up or down to the Filipino doctors. Sometimes, the fault of Filipino doctors themselves by driving two or three top of the line Mercedeses, BMW or even Ferrari or living in a gated community. Not bad, but envious- friendly.

About toxicology, it is hard to prove his guilt. That is if, the individual or patient ingest medicines, prescribed or not prrescribed. We read that during the crisis on the death of Anna Nichole Smith and her son. Is Dr. Chua, a Dr. Kevorkian? I believe he is not.

The practice of medicine is one of the lucrative trade or profession but there is a high risk of malpractice. Insurance for it is high too.

Dr. Chua should be helped.

Ben Ongoco

Houston,Texas

=======================

Georgia is one of the racist states in the nation. It is the birthplace of the noose hanging by a tree to warn "people of color" of their rightful (?) place under the sun. If not for athletics and the military, it is the extension of hell, where some people (really rednecks) think they are destined by God to reap the benefits of the earth because they are white. It is presently invaded by Mexicans because of the chicken industry, many of them illegal aliens. I hope more of them will come to push out these ignorant, xenophobic rednecks. I wouldn't settle there if it is the last place on earth.

Dr. Chua's problem is further exacerbated by professional jealousy from his good medical practice that sees him going out of his way to minister to his patients, something very few of his colleagues are able to do. By eliminating him unfairly, they hope to take over some of his patients, and ultimately his practice. Bastards!

Rawley Soberano

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In Line with the Pedestrian Observer blog’s focus on bringing out issues that affect Filipinos in the Diaspora the article is a contribution from the above author Perry Diaz.




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