Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng was sentenced to 30 years to life for the over-dose deaths of her patients. She had been over prescribing pain pills, despite the pleas from family and friends of the victims. Some of her patients were coming from 4 hours away because she would prescribe them pills that other doctors refused to.
Tseng was charged with second degree murder for the deaths of Joey Rovero, Steven Ogle, and Vu Nguyen. Prosecutors justified the charges because Tseng had received earlier notice about three other overdoses after she prescribed them drugs. Tseng said that she took these calls as just an “FYI” an not an actual warning.
Tseng catered to young people willing to pay cash for the prescriptions, she ran a multi-million dollar business out of her strip mall clinic. She was found guilty, and while she apologized for her crimes she deflected a lot of the blame. She blamed both the patients themselves and the pharmacies that filled the prescriptions.
Cases like these are gaining steam in recent years. We see many doctors over-prescribing medications and pushing different quick fixes rather than focusing on the patients and the actual cause for their ailments. In this case, however, I believe this was just a quick cash scheme. In her mind, Lisa probably didn’t think she was actually doing anything wrong or if she did maybe she believed she could never actually be convicted of anything as she was an actual doctor.
Tseng wrote a letter to the court in which she stated that she lacked the actual training in prescribing addictive narcotics and was in denial about what type of practice she was actually running. I cannot believe she was in denial about what was happening rather I believe that she just really liked adding all those extra dollars to her bank account. She went on to write, “I told myself that my patients’ conduct was beyond my control.”
Reading the articles and information regarding this case was disheartening. Many of the families had reached out to the doctor and begged her to stop prescribing to their children, they knew something was going terribly wrong. I agree that addicts do hold some of the responsibility for their addiction, however if you are feeding your habit from an actual doctor it is much easier to tell yourself that you need the drugs if a bona fide doctor is writing the scripts.
Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng will not be eligible for parole until she serves at least 30 years of her sentence, unless her sentence is reduced or overturned on appeal.