NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A doctor is facing hundreds of charges, including manslaughter, in the overdose deaths of three of his patients.
Prosecutors said the Queens-based doctor prescribed large amounts of opioids and other drugs in combinations that could be lethal. They accused him of having a callous disregard for the welfare of his patients.
His defense attorney, however, claimed the doctor was just doing what he thought was right.
Dr. Lawrence Choy was licensed to help save lives. But instead, he faces criminal charges after three of his patients fatally overdosed on toxic cocktails of painkillers and other drugs authorities say he prescribed.
Harry Ries’ 30-year-old son Michael was one of them. CBS2’s Andrea Grymes asked Ries whether he believes the doctor played a big role in his son’s death.
“Completely, completely,” he replied. “There’s no doubt. In my mind, there’s no doubt.”
Choy was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Manhattan Supreme Court on more than 230 charges, including two counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
The charges relate to 14 patients, including the three who died between 2013 and 2016. Authorities said two of them fatally overdosed within three days of receiving high-dose prescriptions of oxycodone and Xanax from Choy.
“Boy drugs have the effect of suppressing respiration and when taken together are known to heighten the risk of overdose deaths,” New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
Authorities said the doctor used to operate out of an office in Flushing.
In 2012, they allege his prescription practices changed dramatically, coinciding with tax warrants filed against him for unpaid taxes. Prosecutors said the doctor began prescribing staggering amounts of oxycodone and other drugs, and patients started coming from all over.
Prosecutors said they got a warrant to search his office in March 2016 and by June 2017, claim he abruptly left and moved to Wisconsin, leaving his office in disarray.
Choy’s attorney claimed he left to take care of his ailing mother. He pleaded not guilty to charges.
Ries said the pain over losing his son will never go away.
“Every day I wake up with pain. My whole family wakes up with pain,” he said. “You’ll never get over it.”
Choy was remanded, meaning he’s now behind bars. The judge said he will consider a bail package as soon as the defense attorney comes up with one. The next court date is set for next Thursday.