Monday, June 11, 2012

Former Physician Charged With 2nd Degree Murder For Three Patients' Prescription Overdose Deaths - Preliminary Hearing Continues In Unusual L.A. Case

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times
The unusual case of Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Teng (who surrendered her license) continues in downtown Los Angeles today June 11, 2012 where a preliminary hearing is being held to determine if there is probable cause to charge her with second degree murder in the death of three patients who overdosed on prescription drug in 2009. A Los Angeles Times article "Former Patients Tells of Easily Getting Drugs From Doctor" covered the preliminary hearing on June 9 which has lasted a week.

The prosecution on Friday called a former patient of Tseng's and there were a number of patient witnesses who said Tseng failed to adequately examine and diagnose them and prescribed addictive narcotics despite warning signs that they were abusing prescriptive drugs. However, this former patient admitted that he lied to the then doctor about having fibromyalgia so he could get the drugs he wanted.

An undercover agent from the California Medical Board testified that he posed as a patient three times and that he told Tseng he was a former heroin user and he shared the pills with a friend and his sister.

Tseng is just one of a few doctors nationwide to be charged with murder related to prescription drugs. The murder charges could be hard to prove because the victims played a role in seeking out the drugs and taking them and then overdosing on them or other drugs. The defense will be sure to question where is the patient's responsibility who decided to lie to obtain the drugs and then to take them. However, the evidence needed to hold Ms. Tseng to answer at a preliminary hearing is quite low -- reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has occurred -- but this will give the defense a preview of the government's case.

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq. Please email Ms. Green at or call her at 213-233-2260 to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.  


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