Fountain Valley Doctor Gives Up License After One Patient Dies and Another Breaks Neck Under His Care

A Fountain Valley doctor who practiced at Metropolitan State Hospital, a hospital for the mentally ill in Norwalk, has surrendered his license after one of his patients broke her neck and another died while both in his care.

Ngoc Le Tuyen, who attended medical school at the University of Saigon and was first licensed to practice medicine in the United States in 1981, was charged with being negligent, incompetent, and unprofessional by the Medical Board of California (MBC) and surrendered his license to practice medicine voluntarily effective yesterday instead of contesting the charges.

The complaint was connected with his treatment of two patients in 2009.

In one case, a 56-year-old man identified only as D.G. in MBC documents was admitted to Metropolitan with a history of drug abuse, post-traumatic dementia, Parkinson's, hepatitis C, as well as a laundry list of other issues (confusion, verbal and physical combativeness with staff, occasional incontinence) in 2004. Five years after being admitted to the hospital, D.G. began to have abdominal issues, which Tuyen failed to correctly identify and prepare for. The patient died several hours after being transferred to the ER.

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In the second case, a 52-year-old woman identified as D.R. was admitted to the hospital with a history of depressive schizoaffective disorder and hyperthyroidism. She also had a history of psychiatric hospitalization dating back to 1984 and had presented a threat to herself and others. Two months into her stay, she fell from her bed, fracturing two vertebrae in the process. Tuyen missed the fractures roughly five hours after they occurred when the patient was unable to lift herself up to take the Tylenol Tuyen had prescribed.

"For the purpose of resolving the accusation without the expense and uncertainty of further proceedings, respondent [Tuyen] agrees that ... complainant could establish a prima facie case with respect to the charges... and that those charges constitute cause for discipline," reads the MBC decision. "Respondent hereby gives up his right to contest that cause for discipline exists based on those charges."

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