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Dr. Stan Li testifies about patients' painkiller prescription history at manslaughter trial

Dr. Stan Xuhui Li walks in the hallway

Dr. Stan Xuhui Li walks in the hallway of State Supreme Court in lower Manhattan during the first day of his trial on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

The defense lawyer for Stan Li, the Queens doctor charged with the deaths of two patients and of overprescribing painkillers to 20 patients, said the anesthesiologist followed standard, ethical medical procedures when writing prescriptions.

Taking the witness stand, Li, 60, of Hamilton, New Jersey, reviewed his patients' medical records and read aloud his prescription notes to jurors at his manslaughter and endangerment trial in state court in Manhattan Wednesday.

The doctor's records were projected on a screen for jurors, while defense lawyer Raymond Belair reviewed each visit and the dosages Li prescribed of oxycodone, Percocet, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and methadone.

Each time Belair asked Li: "Did you prescribe with good intent and good practice?"

"Yes," Li replied.

Li testified that his treatment plans for his patients were intended to reduce pain and did not risk death.

Li said some of his patients claimed they had lost their medications and asked for new prescriptions, which Li said he always denied. However, he would prescribe other pain medications.

In the case of Nicholas Rappold, 21, of Queens, who was found dead in his car in 2010 with prescription bottles scripted by Li, the doctor said: "What I tried to do was reduce his pain." His lawyer asked, "Was there a risk of death?" Li replied "No."

The medical records of Grace Papazian, 34, of Queens, were also reviewed. Papazian complained of pain in her hands, feet and knees, and was thought to have rheumatoid arthritis. She was taking methadone for her pain. Li testified that he did not know Papazian was using illegal drugs while she was taking his painkilling treatments.

Prosecutors in their opening argument told jurors that Papazian's family had asked Li to stop writing prescriptions because she sold them to get illegal street drugs. Li treated Papazian from 2006 to 2010.

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