Doctor censured in death of 2 prisoners

He gets 35 months' probation for failure to meet standard of care, which could have saved lives.

December 15, 2010|By Joseph Serna,

A Costa Mesa doctor's negligence and incompetence contributed to two prison inmates' deaths and a third inmate's near blindness, the state medical board concluded.

In a decision that took effect Friday, the Medical Board of California put Dr. Allan J. T. Yin, 74, on 35 months' probation for the incidents between 2005 and 2006. He may continue practicing medicine, but the board can revoke his license if he violates his probation.

Yin has accepted responsibility for his alleged part in all three cases.

Yin failed to provide even a minimum level of care and treatment for three state prisoners, delaying vital treatment that could have made a difference, the board found. Records do not identify the prisoners or where they were incarcerated.


On Nov. 23, 2006, a prisoner named "Danny T." complainted to prison nurses about severe abdominal pain. Doctors examined him that day, as well as three days later — and again the next day.

During the third visit, on Nov. 27, 2006, Yin was the doctor on call, and it was the first time that he was examining the patient for those reported symptoms. Danny, who was vomiting and appeared jaundiced, told Yin that the pain had started three months earlier, according to board documents. Yin prescribed the inmate some medication and suggested that he drink only clear liquids.

Danny returned the next morning with tenderness in his abdomen and dark urine. Yin diagnosed it as acute gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. He ordered Danny back the next day, when test results would be back.

Hours later, Danny returned in even worse shape. According to board documents, that's when Yin finally referred Danny to the emergency room.

It was too late.

Physicians there said that Danny had an inflamed pancreas and kidney failure. He died a week later. The board said Yin should have referred Danny to the emergency room earlier, if not having ordered that lab tests and X-rays be done on the patient earlier.

"Such conduct constitutes an extreme departure from the standard of care," the board concluded.

Yin made many similar missteps a year earlier, the board found. In September 2005, a prisoner named "Danny M." who had a history of kidney and liver problems came to Yin complaining of shortness of breath and weakness. He also noted that he had had diarrhea for nearly a week.

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