Md. Doctor's Life Unravels Amid Drug, Assault Charges

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There was a time when Bethesda doctor Eric Greenberg had a loyal following of more than 100 patients. "The best diagnostician I ever saw," said one. "Brilliant," recalled another.

On Tuesday, though, Greenberg faces trial on drug possession charges linked to an April raid of his home office, where police said they found cocaine, powdered Ritalin, a meth pipe and the doctor in a dazed state with needle marks on his arms so fresh they were still bleeding. All the while, police said, patients were trickling in for their appointments.

Greenberg faces a second trial next month related to dust-ups just outside the office.

A next-door neighbor alleges that the internist barreled over a set of potted plants in his Mercedes-Benz and, when confronted, knocked the neighbor's tooth out. Police who showed up to ask questions said Greenberg took a swing at one of them, had to be shocked with a stun gun, and was charged with two counts of assaulting an officer.

"This is a tragedy," said Dianne Ferris, wife of Michael Hazlett, the man who said he lost a tooth.

Ferris, a veterinarian whose office is next to Greenberg's, said longtime patients of Greenberg's still show up, even though he has halted his practice and faces criminal charges.

"He's got some very normal people looking for him," Ferris said.

James Papirmeister, Greenberg's defense attorney, said his client denies assaulting the officers or his neighbor. He said Greenberg also intends to plead not guilty to the drug possession charges. "We intend to establish that he didn't possess or use any illegal drugs," Papirmeister said.

"We feel he is being treated much more harshly because he is a medical doctor," Papirmeister said.

On April 16, after the raid, the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended Greenberg's medical license. James Charles, a lawyer who represented Greenberg in two previous matters before the Board of Physicians, declined to comment.

Greenberg, who was born in Baltimore, received a medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1993, according to the school and court records. For a time, he practiced near White Flint Mall, said a patient from those days, Edwin Mills, 50.

"He's smarter than regular people. It's not even a race," Mills said.

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