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Doctor Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Drug Prescriptions
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Summary: A California doctor with a history of overprescribing pain killers, resulting in the direct death of three patients, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years.

A Rowland Heights doctor has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years after three patients fatally overdosed on drugs she prescribed. Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng was found guilty by a jury last year in Los Angeles of second-degree murder and was sentenced by a judge to 30 years to life in prison for the deaths.


Tseng’s guilty verdict is the first of its kind. No other doctor has been convicted of murder in the United States for overprescribing drugs. Her conviction may set a precedent for future cases and cause other doctors to think twice about prescribing pain killers to patients. Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli took into account in his ruling Tseng’s lack of responsibility in attempting to blame pharmacists, other doctors, and patients for the deaths. She did apologize to the victims’ families, her family, and the medical community during the hearing.

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One of the victims, Joey Rovero, died after mixing Xanax and oxycodone with alcohol. He received the oxycodone prescription from Tseng after driving nearly 300 miles to see her at the clinic. Rovero was an Arizona State University student. Her attorney, Peter Osinoff, argued that Tseng no longer represents a threat because she surrendered her medical license four years ago. He also claimed that there is a problem in the medical community that Tseng became entrapped in, “More primary care physicians no longer accept or treat chronic pain patients in their practice.”

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However the evidence against Tseng showed how she was abusing the system. There was a clear pattern of prescribing pills that Tseng knew were being abused or diverted. Prosecutors found that Tseng had written a man’s name on prescriptions so the wife had access to twice as many pills. Coroner’s or law enforcement officials had called her more than a dozen times to state, “Your patient has died.” Tseng also referred to many patients as “druggies” and would make up their medical records.

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Everything was for financial gain. The year after she started working at the clinic where her husband also worked, the clinic reported a $5 million profit in tax records. She was also found guilty for a dozen or so illegal-prescribing counts.




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