Doctors given probation

May 23, 1997


Staff Writer

Two Ohio doctors - convicted in January of carrying 100-plus doses of morphine in their family van - were granted probation before judgment Thursday in Washington County District Court.

But Judge R. Noel Spence stopped short of letting Drs. Arlene Marie Basedow and William Kent Basedow off lightly.

"For people who are highly educated and respected by your peers and your patients, you have exhibited extremely foolish, thoughtless and ignorant behavior," Spence said.

The judge was referring to William Basedow's testimony in January explaining the presence of the drugs, found when the couple wrecked their van on Interstate 70 near Clear Spring in April 1996.


"We usually take medications with us when we travel, in case we need to treat family or friends back East," said William Basedow.

That is a violation of license restrictions and standard medical practices even though both Basedows testified they have licenses from the Drug Enforcement Administration to possess narcotics.

Assistant State's Attorney Joe Michael said that the DEA license limits that possession to a single location, such as the Basedow's Ohio home.

Michael argued against probation before judgment Thursday, mainly because evidence that both Basedows had morphine in their urine samples and William Basedow had a .12 blood alcohol reading in his blood in April 1996 was not admitted at the January trial.

Arlene Basedow, who was being treated by her husband for migraine headaches, told Spence she believes the urine tests might have been mixed up at the hospital, showing morphine in her husband's test when both denied he was using the drug.

William Basedow's explanation for his blood alcohol reading was that he'd had five or six glasses of wine the night before they left on their trip east.

On Jan. 23, Spence found Dr. Arlene Basedow, 42, and Dr. William Basedow, 44, of Ironton, Ohio, guilty of one count each of possession of morphine.

The maximum penalty could have been four years in prison and a $25,000 fine on each count.

Arlene Basedow also was found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia, a used syringe found in her purse. She could have gotten an additional $500 fine for that offense.

Thursday Spence placed the couple on supervised probation for 18 months, fined each $2,000 and mandated drug testing in Ohio, with monthly reports submitted to probation and parole officials in Washington County.

They paid $1,000 Thursday and were given 30 days to pay the $3,000 balance or face violation of probation proceedings, Spence said.

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