Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, Serial Killer Physician – 2012, California


Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng is the first US physician to be convicted of homicide for overprescribing medications. The 2016 ruling is a legal landmark. Tseng’s corruption and cynicism was brought to public attention by investigative reporters of the Los Angeles Times. Tseng was arrested March 1, 2012 and charged with three murders. But many more of her patients died from drugs she prescribed. Prosecutors chose not to try cases in which there was a possibility of suicide or in which another physician had also written prescriptions for the victim.

During the 2016 trial, Tseng’s defense lawyer attempted to paint his client as the victim of her patients, claiming Tseng naively trusted them when they claimed they needed drugs for legitimate pain when in actuality they were addicts. They were indeed addicted, yet Tseng was running an illegal “pill mill” at great profit. She wrote 27,000 questionable prescriptions and raked in $5 million in just three years, money she invested in expanding her business, building a new medical clinic. “The Drug Enforcement Administration says Tseng wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions over a three-year period starting in January 2007 — an average of 25 a day.”

Her coldblooded cynicism was proven over and over again. ‘In an interview with The Times in 2010, Tseng acknowledged that she had been confronted about her prescribing habits by her patients’ loved ones, but insisted she had done nothing wrong. ‘They call me all sorts of names — drug doctor, drug-dealing doctor…. I tell parents a lot of times it’s their problem,’ she said.” Six years later, during the 2016 trial the prosecutor revealed that “a coroner’s or law enforcement official called with the same stark message: ‘Your patient has died.’ Her prescribing habits, Niedermann said, remained unchanged.”

It was shown that Tseng “fabricated charts to make it look like she kept thorough records of diagnoses and noted she was weaning them off drugs” and that “ Tseng ignored pleas from family members of patients who demanded she stop prescribing drugs to them.”

“The drugs she allegedly prescribed included oxycodone and alprazolam, are commonly abused and sold on the black market.”

The three deaths for which Tseng was charged with responsibility with were: Joey Rovero, 21, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon, Calif.; Vu Nguyen, 28, of Lake Forest; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert. Each died in 2009.

On February 5, 2016 she was convicted of three second-degree murders, illegally writing prescriptions for 16 patients, two of whom died, and for two undercover agents. She was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

[Robert St. Estephe; quotes from various sources, listed below]

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2009 – Joey Rovero, 21, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon, Calif., died.
2009 – Vu Nguyen, 28, of Lake Forest; died.
2009 – Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, died.
Mar. 1, 2012 – arrested.
Feb. 5, 2016 – “A judge on Friday sentenced a Rowland Heights doctor to 30 years to life in prison for the murders of three of her patients who fatally overdosed, ending a landmark case that some medical experts say could reshape how doctors nationwide handle prescriptions.” “She was also convicted of illegally writing prescriptions for two of the deceased patients and 16 other people, including two undercover agents who were investigating how easily she prescribed addictive pain pills after brief office visits. She was acquitted of illegally writing a hydrocodone prescription to a third undercover officer.”

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[Mark Boster (TNS), “Doctor found guilty of murder of three patients for ‘crazy, outrageous amounts’ of painkillers,” Daily News (N. Y.), Oct. 31, 2015]
[Lisa Girion, Scott Glover and Hailey Branson-Potts, “Doctor charged in fatal prescription overdoses,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Mar. 1, 2012]
[Marisa Gerber, “Doctor convicted of murder for patients’ drug overdoses gets 30 years to life in prison,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Feb. 5, 2016]
[Amanda Lee Myers, “A Los Angeles-area doctor convicted of second-degree murder for prescribing pain killers that killed three patients was sentenced Friday in a landmark case that many in the medical community believe will create a chilling effect among physicians, U. S. News & World Report, Feb. 5, 2016]

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