Dr. Long-Dei Liu Loses Hospital Privileges and $2 Million Wrongful Death Suit But Not License

UPDATE, NOV. 4, 11:54 A.M.: Add another doctor to this week's list of negligent Orange County physicians as a civil jury found against Dr. Long-Dei Liu in the death of a 26-year-old Chinese woman who died of complications from a C-Section last spring. Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center reportedly pulled the obstetrician's privileges as well as those of intensive care unit nurses. Ling Nie died at the hospital four days after delivering her second son and developed complications from postpartum hemorrhage. On behalf of himself and his two sons, Lie's 29-year-old husband filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against Liu and the hospital.

The complaint alleged Liu left the mother's bedside in the ICU too soon and without first checking her vital signs. Liu argued Nie was stable when he went home and that nurses should have summoned him back to the hospital sooner. After a seven-day trial, a jury awarded the family about $2 million in damages from the doctor. By then the hospital had already settled for $3.2 million. The verdict has not effected Liu's California medical license, the Orange County Register reports.

ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 3, 6:39 A.M.: Sometimes not being able to get in to see your doctor can be a good thing, as a recent conviction and state medical board disciplinary actions against area physicians show.

The worst of the worst this go-round is Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa'' Tseng, who was convicted Friday of second-degree murder in the drug-overdose deaths of Lake Forest 29-year-old Vu Nguyen and two other men in their 20s. Tseng, who surrendered her license to practice medicine in February 2012 and has been behind bars in lieu of $3 million bail since her arrest a month later, is the first doctor in the state to be charged with murder in the deaths of patients prescribed drugs. She now faces a possible life sentence on Dec. 14 after being convicted of three counts of second-degree murder, 19 counts of unlawful prescription of a controlled substance and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Tseng has been vilified in documentaries about South Orange County's heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Besides Nguyen, her fatal overdose victims between March and December 2009 were Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, and Joseph Rovero III, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student from San Ramon. Many of patients of Tseng's Rowland Heights office filled their prescriptions at a since-closed Huntington Beach pharmacy.

Dr. Eleanor Marie Kelly did not kill anyone, although she could have when she drove with a blood alcohol content (BAC) more than three times the legal limit. Between 4:50 and 5:20 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2013, she downed two "double Cape Cod drinks" at an Orange restaurant and then tried to drive to her home in Irvine. Along the way, she swerved and hit a curb, flattening the vehicle's front and rear driver's side tires. Another motorist tried to get her attention but failed until Kelly finally noticed him after a few miles and stopped at a gas station. That's where Irvine Police officers were dispatched to regarding a reckless driver, and arriving cops found her sitting in the driver's seat with the engine turned off and blood coming from a small laceration to her left eye. She explained she did not know how the vehicle's tires had been flattened, but given her red, watery eyes, slurred speech and strong odor of alcohol on her breath, officers decided to administer field sobriety tests. Kelly was unable to complete them, nearly falling over. Her BAC was later measured at 0.26 percent. She pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court Nov. 14, 2013, to driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years of informal probation and ordered to take a first-time offenders class. Kelly and her attorney, Fredrick M. Ray of Orange, recently signed a Medical Board of California settlement to place her license to practice on probation for five years. During that time, she can't drink or use controlled substances and must undergo drug and alcohol tests that, if positive, will force her to immediately stop practicing medicine. Kelly must also enroll in a professional ethics course and undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
 

The Medical Board has publicly reprimanded Dr. Chitra Anjani Bhakta, who practices in Irvine but resides in Newport Beach, over the treatment of a woman who was bitten by a tick and showed symptoms consistent with Lyme's disease. The patient, who was confined to a wheelchair, was prescribed intravenous antibiotics and warned of sepsis being a possible complication. The fault the board found with Bhakta had to do with incomplete follow-up care, because the patient started missing appointments to have her blood drawn and began inserting the needle for the meds into her own arm. In December 2012, the woman's sister, a registered nurse, found the patient at her home soiled in urine with adult diapers around the room. She was unable to support herself to get in and out of her bed, and at some point had fallen, fractured her hip and not sought medical care. She was then hospitalized and sepsis--infection of the bloodstream--was discovered, prompting an intravenous antibiotic regime that kept her there for three weeks. Bhakta and her attorney, John D. Harwell of Manhattan Beach, signed a Medical Board declaration stating the physician "committed acts constituting gross negligence and repeated negligent acts," "maintained inadequate medical records" and "failed to communicate with home nursing staff and/or [the patient] on a regular basis as to her status." She was ordered to take courses in prescribing practices, medical record keeping and continuing medical education.

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Dr. Joseph K. Bivens is a plastic surgeon who has practiced in Hollywood, Floria, and--most recently--in Fountain Valley and Garden Grove. The Medical Board of California just sent him a letter informing this state is now aware that on Feb. 15, the Florida Board of Medicine reprimanded him, required him to complete a medical records course and ordered him to pay an administrative fine and the cost of the investigation of him. "This action is based on your failure to keep appropriate, legible medical records by failing to document an adequate operative report of the surgical procedures that you performed, i.e., breast reduction, abdominoplasty and general liposuction, on a patient on Feb. 25, 2009," reads the letter signed by Kimberly Kirchmeyer, the California board's executive director.

Local Kardashian fans may be pleased to know Dr. Bivens specializes in butt augmentations.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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