NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A doctor who prescribed deadly doses of narcotics to patients will now spend years in prison.
The Queens-based physician was sentenced Tuesday morning in Manhattan Supreme Court, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.
After being indicted in June on hundreds of charges, including manslaughter, Dr. Lawrence Choy was sentenced to seven years behind bars, followed by two years of probation.
“One doctor with this kind of practice can harm a great number of people,” New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
Brennan said Choy prescribed a staggering amount of dangerous narcotics from a clinic in Flushing, Queens. In many cases, he offered patients a deadly cocktail of anti-anxiety pills, muscle relaxers, and opioids.
“Because of this dangerous combination of drugs, their dependence, their addiction quickly accelerated. So that was real tragedy of this case,” Brennan said.
Three of Choy’s patients overdosed and died after he prescribed high-dose prescriptions of opioids. He admitted to over-prescribing and failing to follow up with patients.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said Choy never intended to harm anyone, but admitted Choy’s actions led to those deaths.
“It’s tragic. It’s horrible. And he’s accepted responsibility for it and feels horribly remorseful about his actions and the violation of his oath,” Lichtman said.
Harry Ries’ 30-year-old son, Michael, was among those who fatally overdosed. He said he doesn’t think seven years in prison is enough justice.
“But basically the amount of time for each life that was taken really only boils down to two years, and that’s just not enough for me,” Harry Ries said.
Choy is now 67 years old. Lichtman said Choy could serve less than six years in prison.