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Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The doctor passed out prescriptions for drugs like Xanax and OxyContin, Vicodin and Adderall at a rate of 25 per day for three years, with only cursory patient examinations and a minimum of questions, authorities said.
Now Los Angeles County prosecutors are determined to show that Dr. Hsui-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, whom they’ve dubbed “Dr. Feelgood,” has done more than overprescribe drugs.
They are looking to prove she’s guilty of murder, responsible for the deaths of three otherwise healthy men in their 20s.
Tseng, 42, was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. She was being held on $3 million bail and could face a state prison term of 45 years to life if convicted.
After a long probe involving U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents posing as patients, Tseng was charged Thursday in the deaths of Vu Nguyen, 29, of Lake Forest, on March 2, 2009; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, on April 9, 2009; and Joseph Rovero III, 21, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon, on Dec. 18, 2009.
Rovero, who went by Joey, had been a high school football player in San Ramon and was halfway through his senior year at ASU, where he was studying business and communications.
He saw Tseng for the first and only time on Dec. 9, 2009, nine days before his death in Tempe, Ariz., and received prescriptions for Xanax and OxyContin, the brand names for Alprazolam and Oxycodone.
His autopsy report said Rovero died of acute intoxication of those two drugs. Alcohol was also in his system.
Rovero came into Tseng’s office complaining of anxiety and of pain in his hand, back and wrist, and saying a previous doctor had prescribed him OxyContin, Xanax and Soma, according to records from the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.
Tseng prescribed the drugs after performing only a partial physical examination that didn’t even note which hands or wrists were in pain, the records said. They then cite dozens of failures of Tseng to take the required steps when issuing such prescriptions, including:
_ Failing to get a patient history to explain the origin of his pain.
_ Failing to get prior treatment records to assure the medical history he gave was true.
_ Failing to identify his previous doctors.
_ Failing to acquire a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
_ Failing to run reports that would assure Rovero wasn’t “doctor shopping.”
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