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Two California Prisoners Die as a Result of Doctor’s Negligence

A Costa Mesa, California doctor’s negligence contributed to the deaths of two prisoners and near-blindness of a third, according to a December 2010 announcement by the state’s medical board. Dr. Allan J.T. Yin, 74, was placed on 35 months probation as a result of incidents that occurred between 2005 and 2006. He can continue to practice medicine, but his license may be suspended if he violates the terms of his probation.

According to the Medical Board of California, Dr. Yin failed to provide even a minimum level of care and treatment for three state prisoners, and his delay in rendering necessary treatment could have made a difference. The full names of the prisoners and the facilities where they were incarcerated were not identified. Dr. Yin has admitted responsibility in all three incidents.

In November 2006, a prisoner named “Danny T.” complained to nurses of severe abdominal pain. He was examined the same day and three and four days later. On his last visit he was attended by Dr. Yin. Danny advised Yin that his symptoms had started three months earlier. Despite the fact that he was vomiting and appeared jaundiced, Dr. Yin only prescribed some medication and directed Danny to drink clear liquids.

After Danny returned the next day with pain in his abdomen and dark urine, Yin dismissed him after diagnosing gastritis, and told him to come back the following day. Danny collapsed later that same day and was transported to a hospital emergency room, where he was found to have an inflamed pancreas and kidney failure. He died a week later. The Medical Board stated that “Such conduct constitutes an extreme departure from the standard of care.”

A similar case had occurred the previous year, in Sept. 2005, involving “Danny M,” a prisoner with a history of kidney and liver problems. Danny M. had complained to Dr. Yin of shortness of breath and weakness, plus severe diarrhea. After giving Danny M. liquids, the patient notes did not disclose that Yin had taken his medical history. About a week later, Danny M. was transported to a hospital emergency room where he was diagnosed with respiratory, liver and kidney failure. He later died. Yin was again found to be “negligent and incompetent.”

The third prisoner, “Dwight C.,” had complained to Yin of pain in his eyes, and was dismissed after receiving eye drops. His symptoms worsened until he was almost blind, and another doctor sent him to a hospital where he was found to have a severe eye infection, which could have resulted in permanent blindness.

Dr. Yin was ordered by the Medical Board to take 40 hours of medical-related education classes each year for the next three years, and notify any doctor’s office or hospital where he works about the Board’s disciplinary action. One can only speculate as to who would hire Dr. Yin if he did so – other than corrections agencies, that is.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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