There seems to be no shortage of bad doctor stories going around right now. Just when you thought you'd heard the worst, along comes another.
A "cosmetic surgeon" in California has lost his license to practice medicine and has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2010 death of a 61-year-old woman during a 10-hour liposuction procedure being done in his office. She apparently died from an overdose of lidocaine, fentanyl and oxycodone.
Like some other cases involving doctors who lost their way, this physician trained at renowned institutions. In this case, the doctor was described as having done a residency at Columbia, a chief residency at Johns Hopkins and a fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
His training was in obstetrics and gynecology, and he was not certified by a legitimate American medical board. He called himself a cosmetic surgeon but apparently had no formal training in cosmetic or plastic surgery.
Here is a list of some of the other major issues with this doctor.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, he was charged with elder abuse of a 77-year-old woman who also had complications during liposuction.
He charged patients exorbitant fees for procedures, allegedly as high as $650,000, but routinely in the range of $50,000 to $100,000.
He once anesthetized a patient for surgery, and while she was sedated, had her sign for more surgery at an increased fee.
He offered discounts to patients if they would enroll in a Harvard University study, which was later proven to be fictitious by Charles Feldman, a persistent investigative reporter for a Los Angeles radio station.
He is currently in jail, having been tried and convicted of attempted grand theft for trying to sell $20,000 worth of medical equipment he did not own.
The California Medical Board was warned about him by other surgeons two years before the death of the liposuction patient.
He has been living illegally in the United States since his visa expired in 2006. Apparently the California Medical Board and most other boards do not check on things like visa status when doctors apply for or renew licenses.
After the death of his patient and the restriction of his license to non-invasive procedures, he started advertising his services using only his first name so that Internet searches would not reveal his licensing problems or stories about the patient who died.
At some point near the time of the liposuction patient's death, the doctor was rushed to a hospital from his office having called an ambulance when complications arose while attempting to perform a hernia repair on himself. The homicide detective who investigated the case said, "That caused me to question whether [the doctor] was in complete control of his faculties."
It is ironic that he even botched the surgery he tried to do on himself. He should never have believed his own advertising, nor should anyone else have.
Once again, this doctor could have been stopped before that liposuction patient died, but the medical board did not act.
It is sad for the patients and the families he harmed.
PS: His Healthgrades score today is 4.4 stars.