The medical license of a Lake Forest pediatric psychiatrist has been placed on probation for four years because of his three convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and admission that in decades past he had drinks at lunch and returned to work impaired, according to state officials.
According to the Medical Board of California order that Dr. Tony Tung-Tan King and his attorney Vincent J. LaBarbera Jr. signed in March, and which became effective at 5 p.m. Friday, the discipline was necessary because of excessive use of alcohol, convictions related to performance as a physician or surgeon and general unprofessional conduct.
King's DUI convictions extend back to around July 1995, when he was driving home to Irvine from a Bellflower bar and his vehicle wound up disabled on a median in Santa Ana. King, who recalled to medical board investigators that his blood alcohol content was measured at 0.9 percent, was arrested and booked into Santa Ana Jail. His subsequent DUI conviction resulted in five years probation and enrollment in a first offender program.
He was driving on the 5 freeway near the Crown Valley Parkway exit around 1:30 a.m. in December 2000, when he was pulled over by the CHP for speeding and driving erratically. His BAC was reported at 0.11 percent, and his subsequent conviction led to 10 more years of probation and requirements to attend six Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and an 18-month alcohol treatment program.
Around 9 p.m. Feb. 17, 2015, King went to a Huntington Beach sports bar and downed beers. In the early morning hours that followed, two officers in a CHP black-and-white noticed his vehicle weaving ahead of them on the 405 freeway—and at different points nearly striking two cars. After King was pulled over, he said he’d had two Stellas between 7-10 p.m. and food around midnight. But he fumbled to grab his drivers license, dropped his wallet and instead handed over his AAA insurance card, explaining it was his license.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The officers claimed that King staggered while stepping out of his vehicle, that his speech was slurred, that his eyes were bloodshot and that he reeked of alcohol. After failing a field sobriety test, and blowing BACs of 0.14 percent and 0.13 percent, King was booked into Orange County Jail. In June 2015, he was convicted, placed on three years probation and ordered to complete a three-month alcohol program, receive victim-impact counseling and pay numerous fees and fines. Through September of that year, his drivers license was restricted so he could only travel to and from work and treatment sessions.
The medical board discipline also considered that King said that some time before 1996, he once or twice consumed alcohol during his lunch break and returned to work under the influence, and that he stopped this after he had an unspecified “wake-up call.”
Under the terms of King’s medical license probation, he must abstain from using controlled substances (unless prescribed by a doctor), have a board-approved substance abuse monitor at his work site(s), take an ethics course, receive a psychiatric evaluation that will be shared with the board, tell all hospitals and facilities where he has privileges of his probationary status, refrain from supervising physician assistants and obey all laws.King must also undergo blood tests to detect drugs or alcohol in his system any time the board sees fit, without warning, as well as immediately upon returning to the U.S. from overseas trips.
Failure to abide by the probation conditions could lead to license revocation proceedings, which should make these details sobering: King told the board that he did not believe he was impaired at the time of his DUI arrests and that he does not believe he has a drinking problem that requires treatment. “He continues to consume alcohol,” the board order states.