Doctor Gets 30 Years to Life For Over-Prescribing Painkillers In Landmark Murder Case
A California doctor who last year became the first physician in America ever convicted of murder for over-prescribing dangerous medication has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng was sentenced Friday after apologizing in a Los Angeles County court to the families of her patients who became addicted to painkillers--some of who went on to overdose and die--while in her care, the AP reports.
The prosecution at 46-year-old Tseng's trial argued that even after more than a dozen of her patients died because of her prescribing habits, Tseng continued to dole out medications.
By the end of the trial, Tseng was convicted of second degree murder in the deaths of three of her patients: Vu Nguyen, 28, Steven Ogle, 25, and Joey Rovero, 21.
Tseng was accused of making millions for the practice she and her husband ran in the San Gabriel Valley by courting patients she allegedly referred to openly as "druggies," the Chicago Tribune reports.
Over a three-year period, the DEA says Tseng wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions, or 25 per day.
According to the prosecutor's, Tseng's first patient to die had received three potent prescriptions from her just days earlier: for the painkiller oxycodone, anxiety drug Xanax and a muscle relaxer called Soma.
Desiree Ogle, mother of Steven, said her son received a prescription for methadone from Tseng mere hours before his fatal overdose.
Prior to sentencing, Tseng read an emotional apology to the court.
"I was not the doctor I should have been for the patients who came to me," she wrote, in part. "I know that being remorseful for my failures as a doctor and as a person does not reverse time or does not help the families heal their grief... No words can properly describe the sadness."
Tseng is the mother of two children ages 8 and 11. She will be over 70 before she is first eligible for release.