A 74-year-old Mountain View woman who ran a pain management clinic in the South Bay was sentenced last month to four years in prison after an investigation found she gave one of her patients prescriptions for "hundreds" of pills including Oxycodone, Flexeril and Clonazepam. The patient was later found dead in his home after ingesting the narcotics.
Jasna Mrdjen, a former doctor, was sentenced for involuntary manslaughter on May 19, eight months after she pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges as well as one count of conspiracy, two counts of dispensing a controlled substance to an addict, and nine counts of prescribing controlled substances to people without a legitimate purpose, according to a statement by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.
A multi-agency investigation into Mrdjen's practice in Los Gatos, which launched in 2011, concluded that Mrdjen was writing "excessive, high dosage prescriptions" for Oxycodone and Percocet with minimal evaluation and sometimes without prior medical records. An undercover officer posing as a patient with foot pain reportedly got a prescription from Mrdjen without even being asked to remove her shoe, according to the statement.
The manslaughter charges stem from Mrdjen giving one patient, 29-year-old Steven English, prescriptions for Oxycodone, Flexeril and Clonazepam, as well as refills of Hydrocodone and Diazepam in early 2012. English had reportedly just returned from drug rehabilitation treatment, and was found dead in his home two weeks later in Truckee, California. The cause of death was "multiple drug ingestion," according to the district attorney's office.
Mrdjen is also being accused of altering English's patient file and forging his signature after he died.
"I hope this tragedy serves to warn others of the depth and danger of the prescription drug abuse epidemic and reminds those who are tempted to over-prescribe powerful narcotics to value their patients’ lives over profits," Deputy District Attorney Dana Veazey said in the statement.
By pleading no contest to the involuntary manslaughter charges, Mrdjen was ensured a sentence of no more than four years, which will be served in the county jail system under the state's Public Safety Realignment Act, according to the statement. At the time of sentencing, she had already served nearly half the sentence in "custody credits." The court did not impose any additional jail time, and instead ordered Mrdjen to be released on probation.