NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A doctor who ran a pain-management clinic in Queens was not a pill pusher, his attorney said during close arguments of the man’s trial Wednesday.
Prosecutors have portrayed Dr. Stan Li as a drug dealer with a medical degree, alleging up to 100 patients a day would visit his weekend-only Flushing office. Visits would take about five minutes each, and patients would pay $100 in cash before walking out with prescriptions for oxycodone and other powerful painkillers, Li’s former secretary testified.
The doctor also kept writing narcotics prescriptions to one patient who overdosed five times in a year and another whose father implored him to stop, prosecutors said. One witness testified that Li prescribed him Percocet, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and Xanax. When the patient complained he was experiencing blackouts, getting lost for hours and becoming scared and angry, Li instructed him to keep taking the medications and he would get used to the side effects.
But, as WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, defense attorney Raymond Belair said Wednesday there was a legitimate reason why Li continued to prescribe addictive painkillers to patients he knew were taking too many pills, were doctor shopping, were depressed or suicidal, or who had overdosed in the past. “Because their pain had not gone away,” the lawyer said.
A pill pusher, Belair argued, doesn’t care about his patients. Li, he insisted, acted in good faith.
The doctor is charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and criminal sale and possession of narcotics. Prosecutors say he sold painkiller prescriptions to two drug-addicted patients who later died of overdoses.
Li testified in his own defense last month. He admitted he prescribed both psychiatric drugs and painkillers to an emotionally fragile woman and even increased the dosage after the patient told him she wanted to commit suicide.
“I tried to help her,” he testified.
He added: “If she followed the instructions, she would not overdose.”
Li also testified that he continued to prescribe oxycodone, fentanyl patches and Xanax to a patient even after finding out about the man’s hospitalization for overdosing on alcohol.
The doctor admitted he had written the prescription and doubled the doses, even though he knew the patient was receiving prescriptions from other doctors as well.
Prosecutor Peter Kougasian asked Li if he had been told that the patient was also selling prescriptions to other addicts. Li said he had, but did not report the incident to police.
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