Regulators order Seattle doctor to stop practicing after 18 deaths in five years

SEATTLE — Dr. Frank Li, who ran eight pain clinics in Washington, has been ordered to stop practicing medicine after regulators became alarmed at the deaths of 18 patients who had been prescribed opiates to control pain.

The Washington State Medical Commission immediately suspended the license of Li, the medical director and sole shareholder of the Seattle Pain Centers. The Washington State Medical Commission found 18 of its patients who died from 2010 to 2015. Their deaths may have either been caused by acute drug intoxication or drug intoxication may have been a contributing factor in their deaths. The commission said the pain center displayed an “egregious pattern of substandard medical care and disregard … for patient health and safety.”

The commission said patients died within days or weeks of submitting prescriptions for opiates. Records at the clinics show a “consistent violations of the standard of care,” the commission said. It said Li and the clinics “fail to comprehend legitimate pain management and reference chronic pain as a medical condition that requires higher opiod doses, thus demonstrating dangerous, naive and unscientific clinical care.”

Li’s clinics were in Seattle, Renton, Everett, Tacoma, Spokane, Olympia, Poulsbo and Vancouver.

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