Dr. Hsiu-Ying Lisa Tseng has been charged with murder connected to the deaths of three patients who died from prescription drug overdoses. She is the first doctor in Los Angeles to face a murder charge related to prescription drugs.
Tseng has been charged with second degree murder for the deaths of three young men. She has also been charged with 20 counts of prescribing medications to patients who do not have a legitimate need for the drugs. She also faces one count of fraudulently prescribing drugs. Tseng has insisted that she is not guilty on any of the charges.
According to court documents, the 42-year-old physician failed to recognize warning signs that her patients were repeatedly overdosing. By continuing to prescribe addictive drugs to patients who were dying, Tseng demonstrated a conscious disregard for human life. Tseng is charged with prescribing powerful and addictive drugs such as Xanax, oxycodone, Soma and methadone.
Authorities allege that, over a period of just three years, Tseng had written as many as 27,000 prescriptions. If she is convicted on all charges, she may face 45 years to life in prison.
Tseng’s Clinic Popular with Drug Addicts
During a preliminary hearing that lasted three weeks, dozens of witnesses testified against Tseng. More than 40 witnesses testified at the hearing, including law enforcement officers, former clinic staff, coroners, former patients, patients’ family members and expert witnesses.
Witnesses claimed that her clinic was popular with drug addicts. Prosecutors showed the judge a video obtained by an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent. In the video, the DEA agent requested powerful painkillers for a wrist injury. Despite Tseng claiming that the wrist did not appear injured, she wrote a prescription for Vicodin and Xanax.
Prosecutors brought evidence that showed Tseng had been warned by law enforcement officials that her patients had been dying from overdoses on drugs that she had prescribed to them. Family members testified that they had called Tseng, pleading for her to stop prescribing addictive pills to their loved ones. Testimony linked Tseng to 12 fatal drug overdoses, though she is only being charged for causing three deaths.
One frequent patient testified that Tseng provided her with hundreds of addictive painkillers weekly. Tseng allegedly wrote prescriptions for the patient’s husband despite the fact that she had never examined him. The husband never knew that his wife had obtained prescription drugs in his name. Another former patient testified that he suffered a prescription drug overdose in the clinic’s restroom.
Tseng’s Attorneys Argue She Acted in Good Faith
Tseng was represented by a team of five attorneys. Her attorneys argued that Tseng did not cause the deaths of the patients because they made a conscious choice to disregard Tseng’s instructions. They claimed that Tseng acted in good faith to treat her patients. She simply wanted to relieve their pain. She could not have predicted that some of her patients would mix the powerful drugs with alcohol and other substances.
Tseng was arrested in March. The judge denied her attorneys’ request to lower her $3 million bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on July 10.
This article was written on behalf of WalnutCreekDUILaw.com where you can find advice and legal advice for DUI’s in Contra Costa County.