Chris Christensen (photo: Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office)

HAMILTON – Back in court Tuesday, the former Florence doctor took the stand to address a long list of accusations against him.

Chris Christensen faces 22 felony charges, including negligent homicide in the deaths of two patients.

11 of Christensen’s former patients are involved in the charges that are being brought against him. Two of them are now dead, and some of them have testified against him over the last three weeks. But as Christensen himself took the stand early this week, his version of events did not always agree with theirs.

Defense attorney Josh van der Wetering and prosecutors both questioned Christensen about each individual patient in this case.

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Christensen says his patients had complicated personal lives, living with physical and psychological pain, with limited ability to pay.

Prosecutor Thorin Geist spent the afternoon going through complaints about Christensen’s medical charts and prescription practices from Idaho and California, to those he is currently facing in Montana.

“It would be inappropriate to prescribe a thousand methadone every 14 days, right?” Geist asked while going through previous records.

“I disagree with the statement that my prescribing of that amount of medication for that patient, under the circumstances, was inappropriate,” Christensen responded.

Christensen says he was trained to trust his patients at their word, until he was given a reason not to.

The trial continues on Thursday, and prosecutors say they expect to wrap up their questioning this week.

MTN’s Augusta McDonnell

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