A California doctor, convicted of second-degree murder was just sentenced to 30 years-to-life in prison for overprescribing opioids that resulted in the deaths of 3 “patients”.
Dr Lisa Tseng’s apparent willingness to hand out scripts to anyone with cash was going on for years and reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least a dozen patients. Worse, she knew her patients were dying; according to news reports the County Coroner called her office at least monthly to let her know one of her patients had died.
At least a dozen of her patients died of overdoses.
Let’s call her what she is – a mass murderer.
While her motives – apparently purely financial – may have been different than the Ted Bundys, John Wayne Gacys, and Jeffrey Dahmers, her death list is not. Nor is the impact on the families and friends of her victims.
Her defense attorney complained that the verdict was already affecting other doctors’ behavior. I should hope so.
Another physician bemoaned the verdict, saying:
“When you use the word ‘murder,’” said Dr. Peter Staats, president of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, “of course it’s going to have a chilling effect.”
Staats said he believes an aggressive medical board — not prosecutors — should go after reckless doctors. But, he added, any doctor who is prescribing pills knowing that they are being abused or diverted shouldn’t be called a doctor.
Let’s understand what’s going on here. Some in the medical community are totally missing the point. Over a three-year period, this “doctor” wrote some 27,000 scripts for opioids and other very dangerous drugs. That’s about 25 each day.
Instead of whining about “chilling effects” and the impact on doctors, these protesters should be asking themselves why 28,000 people died as a result of “accidental poisoning” due to overdoses.
They should ask themselves why heroin use has exploded.
And why it came to this.
Fortunately, the Tseng case seems to be sparking some much-needed conversation in the pain physician community. Here’s hoping it results in a lot more caution and far fewer opioid scripts.
Thanks to good friend and colleague Sandy Blunt of Medata for the heads’ up.