• Mike Kilen
  • Fri March 04 2016
  • Posted Mar 4, 2016
The doctor was booked into jail, ordered to take off all his clothes and issued prisoner garb. He was humiliated.

“This is not the person I am,” he thought. “This is not the type of person they are claiming me to be.”

Dan Baldi wore the same orange shirtas the other prisoners but hethought of himself as someone who helped, not hurt. As a Colorado teenager, he saw a diver fall off the diving board and be rescued from the bottom of the pool. After that, hefiguredthe least we can do with our lives is help people.

So he volunteered to work at a hospice. He became an EMT, went on to medical schooland eventually landed in Des Moines in 1993 to run a pain-relief clinic.

But in 2012, he landed in jail, eventually charged with sevencounts of involuntary manslaughter for his patients' deaths.Prosecutors alleged he recklessly prescribed powerful medications and causeddeaths of his patients, including Paul Gray, a world-famous musician with the rock band Slipknot.

The five-hour stint in jail, until he was released on bond, had as deep an impact as the diver sinking in the pool.“I can tell you the despair you have sitting in jail. I can tell you the weight of the state — it’s an extremely heavy weight when they throw it at you,” Baldi said.

Baldi talkedabout it for the first time while standing in the Des Moines Bicycle Collective next to scruffy homeless men. He helps them fix up bikes so they can travel to a meal line or pedal down the city alleys looking for cans.

Baldican no longer practice medicine and is still facing civil litigation from some of the patients' families, but he is studying for a master’s degree in health care law at Drake University while working part-time at the collective.

This shop full of used bicycleshas helped him save himself, he says.

“We refurbish bikes here,” Baldisaid, “but sometimes I think we refurbish people.”

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