Discussion: Doctor Gets 30 To Life For Prescribing Painkiller Doses That Killed 3 Patients

Discussion for article #245634

This is the sort of prosecution that turns the war on drugs into a war on people in pain.

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We are once again going to get hysterical and make quality of life miserable for those in acute and chronic pain. Talk to cancer patients and those with varying pain syndromes.

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Doctors are really not very good at knowing when you’re really in pain and and when you’re not. I’ve had doctors offer hard drugs for a condition that was not really all that bad, and I’ve had doctors offer only Tylenol when I was in pretty bad pain.

Rather than ruin doctors and deny needed medication for those in pain, maybe the answer is to change the guidelines for opiates. Instead of a couple weeks supply when a doctor thinks there is pain, give a couple days supply when the patient asks for it. Maybe require a second opinion for long term use.

I’d rather anybody taking hard drugs was getting good quality from a pharmacy under a doctors supervision, and nobody ever going on the street for heroin because their doctor feels prescribing what they need would be an unacceptable risk to themselves. A lot more than 3 people have died from low quality or contaminated street drugs.

I had once had a great doctor who would answer questions and take the time to explain the results of my annual checkup. He never prescribed painkillers to me, I never asked for any. But he made a mistake and wrote a few too many prescriptions for hard drugs for other patients, the local pharmacist filed a complaint, and he lost his license. Poor doctor had a heart attack from the stress. I don’t see where anybody benefited from that.

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I would be with you, were it not for this:

The Drug Enforcement Administration says Tseng wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions over a three-year period starting in January 2007 — an average of 25 a day.

These aren’t the actions of someone who’s simply trying to help those of her patients who are in pain. This doctor was running a opioid prescription mill, and was getting rich doing it.

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So, Mr Neutron that she was getting a commission from the drug manufacturer for each prescription? Can this really be the case?

Who said anything about the drug manufacturers? She was getting paid by addicts (and probably some of their insurers) to write prescriptions for them.

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Yes, but the message to doctors is clear: Never prescribe pain medication.

I also wonder if she was writing 25 prescriptions a day because all the other doctors in the area were too chickenshit to write the prescriptions themselves and sent their patients to her because she was too softhearted to say no.

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I am one of those-- who has a structured agreement with his rheumatologist-- to oversee/limit/govern my opioid usage.
As about 18 months ago (Aug 2014) the DEA rescheduled many drugs of this type from Schedule III to Schedule II-- knowing full-well that there would be a large contingent of chronic pain sufferers whose doctors would recoil at the thought of being scrutinized for writing Rxs with refills.

Before I found this medical group-- which I use for 3 disciplines-- I went for several months in accentuated pain-- because the standalone practitioners-- as well as the major hospital specialists-- refused to ‘take ownership’ of my symptoms.
It was always the other doctor’s responsibility to prescribe.

Thankful I have a group with a G.I. Doc, Rheumatologist and G.P. who now share that ownership and my conglomerate medical information.

I see one of them in about 2 weeks for an infusion.
I’m interested in a discussion on how this affects his perspective.

jw1

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That’s quite a leap, given that there’s no evidence to support it. Stop and think about this: a storefront medical clinic writing 25 prescriptions a day for controlled substances. Seriously?

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Would you ever resort to a storefront medical clinic?

More information from the LA Times, which fills in some of the missing details: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-doctor-murder-overdose-drugs-sentencing-20160205-story.html

More than a dozen times, the prosecutor said, a coroner’s or law enforcement official called with the same stark message: “Your patient has died."

Her prescribing habits, Niedermann said, remained unchanged.

The prosecutor told jurors that Tseng wrote a man’s name on prescriptions so his wife could get twice as many pills, openly referred to her patients as “druggies” and sometimes made up medical records.

And this:

Between 2007, when Tseng joined the Rowland Heights clinic where her husband worked, and 2010, tax returns show that their office made $5 million, he said.

This was no angel of mercy for the suffering.

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Between 2007… and 2010, tax returns show that their office made $5 million…

And BTW, that’s just the income they reported. I’ll wager that if the IRS cared to do even a little digging, they’d find substantial unreported cash income.

@jw1, I’m another one with chronic pain.
I found my pain specialist thru my GP.
Both the specialist and GP are in agreement as to my treatment.
Recently the hard part has been finding a pharmacy that consistently has the prescribed medications. It looks like the DEA is placing restrictions on how much pharmacies can order for their in store stocks.

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When I was uninsured, jobless, and nearly destitute-- as I was in 2010-11-- yes, I did.
I had nowhere to go to get an asthma Rx. When my greater condition (colitis bordering on colon cancer) became apparent-- I went to the same doctor for pain medication which he grudgingly provided.

He also gave me an emergency referral to a public/county hospital program that did save my life.
As stated upthread-- I also had a period about 18 months ago where my slate of individual doctors refused to RX hydrocodone for my G.I and arthritic pain. I would have begged any doctor for assistance at times.

I had to make my way by staying as pain-free as possible with OTC pain relief during work-- and moderate alcohol consumption and marijuana usage at night.

But I’ve been using hydrocodone in micro-doses to keep my pain in check for 18 months now with no seeming effect on my performance at work-- and I’m back to being active athletically.

But yeah, 18 months ago-- I was looking for a sympathetic doctor.
Sometimes the reality isn’t pretty.

jw1

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That’s a revelation.
But I’m thinking I can do so in a place as big as Houston.
We have all the big chains and are surrounded by smaller pharmacies-- and hospital pharmacies as well.

jw1

Throw her life away…for what?

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This doesn’t sound like what you went through.

Never prescribe pain medication.

RUBBISH

True, but. I had begun scouting for clinics known to be sympathetic.
I was more concerned with my alcohol consumption to be honest.

Some of the combos of drugs Rx’d were outrageous in the cited case–
and this will give the DEA a dramatic case to pin their next rescheduling to-- or tightening of restrictions over.

Can I be faulted others like to abuse the drugs that offer me a higher quality-of-life?
Yet I’ll be one of those scrutinized-- and possibly denied-- a valid usage.

jw1

It’s an ordeal to find a pharmacy to fill prescription pain medication and that includes the big chains. Mail order through the prescription insurance company has become necessary.