dr martens 1462 Grand Rapids doctor sentenced in marijuana case acted out of ‘compassion
GRAND RAPIDS, MI A former Grand Rapids doctor was motivated by compassion, not greed, when he certified patients for use of medical marijuana and allowed marijuana to be grown in his home, his attorney said.
Still, Dr. Gregory Kuldanek, 58, recognized he was breaking the law.
Kuldanek, whose practice focused on patients with HIV and AIDS, believed he was helping others by certifying patients for use of medical marijuana outside of his office. The government said he certified groups of patients at restaurants but sometimes did not meet them at all. Attorney Mark Courtade asked the judge to consider Kuldanek’s help upon his arrest. Kuldanek testified against the alleged leaders, Betty Jenkins and Phillip Walsh, who await sentencing.
His attorney, Kelly Lambert III, said his client was “carefully groomed and manipulated and that and his sense of compassion was taken advantage of by Ms. Jenkins and co defendant, Phillip Walsh.”
He said his client did not benefit financially.
“In short, it is clear that Dr. Kuldanek was not primarily motivated by financial gain. Instead, Dr. Kuldanek acted out of misguided concern for alleviating perceived pain,” the attorney wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
“Dr. until he was arrested.
Lambert said his client left Grand Rapids for Palm Springs, California, where he served homeless patients in an open clinic setting beginning in August. He lost that job, however, in December because his malpractice insurance provider dropped him.
Several people wrote letters on Kuldanek’s behalf. One friend, who was down after losing his mother, said Kuldanek covered his delinquent taxes twice before he almost lost his home. Kuldanek also sold him a truck for $100 when he needed a vehicle.
He said he was embarrassed “to say that on my behalf, it’s been all take and no give.”
Another patient said Kuldanek even made house calls. He said it “would be a crime to prevent Dr. Kuldanek from continuing to practice medicine and continuing to give his level of care and professionalism that is so rare to find.”
Dr. William Foley III, who worked with Kuldanek for 28 years, said he understood Kuldanek certifying patients because of “his long standing desire to help relieve the suffering of his patients. I have observed him over the years to have cared for patients with serious problems such as AIDS, developmental disabilities, cancer and many other severe and chronic pain and suffering. This I believe (led) him to be vulnerable to the idea that he was helping people with medical problems to relieve their suffering as he has always been a vary caring, compassionate physician.”