October 30, 2015 3:46 PM
A Rowland Heights doctor was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in connection with the overdose deaths of three patients, capping a landmark case that was closely watched by medical and legal professionals across the country. Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, who prosecutors say is the first doctor convicted of murder in the United States for recklessly prescribing drugs to patients, was accused of ignoring “red flags” about her prescribing habits, including the overdose of a patient in her clinic and nine phone calls in less than three years from authorities informing her that patients had died with drugs in their system. As the jury’s decision was read, Tseng cocked her head and listened, showing no emotion. “The message this case sends is you can’t hide behind a white lab coat and commit crimes,” Deputy Dist. Atty. John Niedermann said afterward. “A lab coat and stethoscope are no shield.” April Rovero, whose son, Joey, died nearly six years ago after mixing alcohol with Xanax and oxycodone he had obtained from Tseng, said she believes the verdict will resonate throughout the country. “I really hope this sets a precedent that will allow other dirty doctors to be prosecuted,” said Rovero, who blogged daily throughout the trial. “We feel that finally we have justice.” She wrote them a prescription for the very thing they’re addicted to. She shoved them over that cliff. – Deputy Dist. Atty. John Niedermann She warned against simply blaming addicts when physicians are in a position to know the harm their prescriptions can bring. “Addicts and people seeking medications aren’t in control,” Rovero said. “Doctors are the ones who are supposed to push back. They have a duty.” Tseng’s mother, who declined to give her first name, said through an interpreter that her daughter was deceived by drug-seeking patients. “My daughter is someone who loved to save lives,” she said, crying and shaking her fists outside the courthouse. “She always believed in her patients, and always tried to help her patients. She’s innocent of all these accusations.”
Read the conclusion:
This is an unfortunate casualty of free will. Accidental overdoses can occur, however most are from being irresponsible. If this was a case of an adverse chemical reaction as a result of the prescription drugs prescribed then it would have been the doctor’s fault if the patient didn’t know any better. People know better when they take more medication than is prescribed and they know better when they mix it with alcohol or other substances. Lets not minimize it by claims that the addict didn’t know any better. Addiction is a serious problem and one that does need to be addressed. Families have a responsibility above a physician. They generally always know the tricks the addict plays. The physician isn’t able to see that far.
When do we start taking responsibility for our own actions and the consequences that are sure to follow?