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Doctor censured in death of 2 prisoners

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.

Yin gave him liquids to re-hydrate the body, but left it at that. Danny saw Yin again later that day, but Yin’s notes don’t show any mention of Danny’s history of heart, kidney and liver problems. A nurse noted the weakness in his lungs. The board suggested that Yin should have considered heart failure, but he hadn’t

About a week later, on Oct. 5, 2005, Danny returned to Yin’s office with his mental abilities clearly diminished. He was finally taken to the emergency room, the only facility that could treat him, the board noted. Danny died on Oct. 21, 2005, from respiratory, liver and kidney failure. Again, Yin was found negligent and incompetent.

In June 2005, a prisoner, “Dwight C.,” complained of pain in his eyes and redness, and was dismissed after Yin gave him eye drops. For about a week, the prisoner kept returning to Yin, with his eyes getting worse until he was virtually blind, the board found.

It was another prison doctor, not Yin, who sent the patient to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a severe eye infection. Complications from that infection can lead to blindness.


In its decision the board also ordered Yin to take 40 hours of medicine education classes a year for the next three years and notify any doctors’ offices or hospitals he works in about this case.

The medical board issued Yin his license in 1967.