A doctor who ran a pain management clinic in Flushing was charged yesterday with manslaughter in the deaths of two patients who overdosed on powerful painkillers.
Stan Xuhui Li, 58, of Hamilton, N.J., was one of the doctors mentioned in the recent Voice article about medical professionals who illegally sell oxycodone pills and other painkillers to patients. He was also charged with reckless endangerment, medicaid fraud and falsifying records to hide his illegal conduct.
Prosecutors allege that Li, who operated the pain management clinic on weekends, kept prescribing pills to known addicts even after their relatives begged him to stop via letters and in person. He pocketed some $450,000 in cash from the clinic over two years. One of his patients was David Laffer, the Long Island pill addict who murdered four people during the robbery of a pharmacy last year.
Li worked as an anesthesiologist in New Jersey during the week, and operated the pain management clinic on the weeknds. Li saw more than 70 patients a day in the Flushing office. Lines formed hours before he opened the doors, and patients took numbers to be seen. Some patients blatantly re-sold prescription on the street outside his office. Sixteen of his patients fatally overdosed, and many others experienced non-fatal overdoses.
“Li turned a blind eye to obvious signs of addiction, abuse or diversion, and continued to write prescriptions for patients even when he was directly notified of non-fatal overdoses by other physicians or family members, or personally observed increasingly desperate attempts by patients to obtain medications,” said prosecutors with the office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
Li pleaded not guilty. Raymond Belair, Li’s lawyer, described his client as a “caring and compassionate” medical professional and family man who had no idea patients were “doctor shopping.”
The judge in the case, Michael Sonberg, increased his bail to $750,000 yesterday after prosecutors said he had “drawn down” bank accounts totaling $1.2 million, to $60,000, transferred the deed to his house, and sent money overseas in possible preparation to flee the country.