An important article in today’s Los Angeles Times raises important questions and doubts about the appropriateness of prosecuting healthcare providers when a patient fatally overdoses on prescription painkillers. In Los Angeles County now, Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng has been charged with triple murder – murder! – in the overdose deaths of three patients to whom she prescribed pain medication. I have always thought these charges are excessive, and I think it’s a dangerous precedent to start prosecuting MD’s, DO’s and PA’s for something as grave as murder. The theory of murder is that the patient was addicted, the doctor knew it, the doctor kept writing prescriptions, the patient overdosed fatally, and the doctor was so reckless and indifferent to human life by writing the scrips that the doctor may as well have wanted or intended to kill the patient. The theory is ridiculous, and shame on the District Attorney’s Office for leading the grieving families of the patients to believe “justice will be done” in the form of a murder conviction. I predict the DA will fail at trial; whether a lesser theory of homicide will succeed, I don’t know. But murder? That’s way over the top.
Don’t let anything close to this happen to you. Call the Meister Law Offices at 213.293.3737 for a free consultation about Painkiller Law: Criminal Law Compliance for Healthcare Providers, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.