A doctor in Flushing, Queens has been convicted of manslaughter, after two patients to whom he prescribed painkillers suffered fatal overdoses.
Dr. Stan Xuhui Li, 60, was handed the guilty verdict yesterday following a four-month trial. Prosecutors alleged the New Jersey-based doctor, who ran a pain-management clinic once a week in Flushing, overprescribed the drugs to patients Joseph Haeg and Nicholas Rappold; they died of Oxycodone/Xanax overdoses in 2009 and 2010. Li was also convicted of reckless endangerment, following the fatal overdoses of two other patients.
"This is a case about a doctor who put money before lives,” Assistant District Attorney Charlotte Fishman said in court earlier this year, pointing out that Li prescribed drugs to patients with histories of addiction. “We will prove he exploited addictions … in pursuit of the almighty dollar." In fact, one of Li's patients was David Laffer, who was convicted of killing four people at a Long Island pharmacy in 2011 and robbing the store of thousands of dollars worth of prescription pills.
Li, who reportedly racked up $450,000 through the clinic and had patients pay in cash, "was a careful, caring physician," according to his defense attorney. "There was no way he could have known if a patient was doctor-shopping or exceeded prescription limits."
In addition to the two manslaughter charges, Li was convicted of reckless endangerment, falsifying business records and other charges.