Accused pain-prescription dealer Dr. Stan Li admitted at his manslaughter trial yesterday that he wrote scripts for more than 800 pills for an East Moriches man in the six weeks before his death, but denied seeing red flags that he might overdose.
Li, a New Jersey anesthesiologist accused of manslaughter in the 2009 death of Joseph Haeg, disagreed with friends and family who testified that Haeg, 37, was visibly unraveling, with slurred speech, messy demeanor and mental confusion while Li was doling out pain drugs.
"What I noted, he had a different walk," said Li, who testified that Haeg was suffering from a recent foot injury in addition to a long-standing bad back. "He appeared more painful . . . and he had a high level of anxiety."
Li, 60, who operated a one-day-a-week pain clinic in Flushing, is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of Haeg and Nicholas Rappold of Queens, reckless endangerment of seven patients and illegally selling prescriptions to 20 patients, including Medford pharmacy gunman David Laffer.
Prosecutors charge that Li prescribed dangerous levels of oxy-codone, Percocet and Xanax to Haeg, whose last visit came three days before his death. He admitted Wednesday that he also prescribed 500 opioid and Xanax pills over five weeks to Rappold, who overdosed in 2010 three days after last seeing Li.
Li took the stand two weeks ago and cross-examination began Monday.
In questioning Wednesday, prosecutors challenged practices -- from incomplete patient histories, to repeatedly giving new prescriptions early to patients who used up supplies too fast -- that they say show Li was reckless and more focused on money than caring for Haeg, Rappold and others.
In one reckless endangerment case involving Elizabeth Cranmore, he admitted continuing to prescribe despite getting warnings five times by emergency rooms that she had overdosed and appeared to be suicidal.
Although Cranmore testified earlier that she was suicidal and had asked for a drug called Soma from Li to hurt herself, Li insisted as he has throughout the trial that he did nothing more than believe what his patients told him at the time and try to relieve their pain.
"She said Soma was helping her," he told jurors.
In most of his answers, Li has shown no obvious emotion, sometimes appearing puzzled that his practices were being questioned. But when prosecutor Peter Kougasian asked if he was indifferent to Cranmore's well-being, Li responded angrily."No, I care for the patient," he testified. "I try to help her. I do my best for her."