Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Fake Doctor Pays for Crimes

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Jan 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

For the most part, when one thinks of a case against a doctor based upon a botched plastic surgery procedure, it is assumed that the case is being brought against an actual doctor. However, this was not what happened when a case was brought against a San Francisco man which resulted in a 20-year prison sentence.

A man named Carlos Guzmangarza illegally practiced medicine in California without a license by using a licensed physician assistant's name to operate his facility where he performed liposuction, face-lifts, breast augmentations and skin treatments.

During that time, it was reported that he performed illegal operations on at least nine women inside his clinic. During the procedures, he was known to smoke, had a woman hold her own IV bag during an operation and even went to the woman's home in order to flush six pounds of her fat down her own toilet. Guzmangarza also left a four-inch needle in a woman's buttocks and marketed a mystery injectable solution as acne treatment. His actions resulted in infections and several botched procedures.

While is it bad enough that dangerous surgeries were performed without medical qualification, it appears that more than improper medical practice occurred during the illegal procedures. Guzmangarza allegedly took nude photographs of his patients and penetrated and raped clients while performing plastic surgical procedures. Three of the women Guzmangarza performed procedures on accused him of sexually assaulting them while he was acting as a doctor. One victim said she was given pills and was attacked while she was incapacitated. Another woman said that Guzmangarza told her that the sexual assault was a necessary part of her skin treatment.

In total, 10 victims testified against Guzmangarza during his trial trial, nine of whom he actually treated. The 10th person testified because he had stolen their identity.

Guzmangarza was charged with 51 counts by the State, but the jury found him not guilty on some counts of assault in connection with medical procedures. Ultimately Guzmangarza was convicted of 33 felonies and eight misdemeanors and will serve 20 years behind bars.

While the obvious question is, “how did the patients not know this man was not an actual doctor?” It becomes more clear as to the reason that the fraud was so easily perpetuated when it becomes known that most of his “patients “were migrants from Central America who simply did not know any better.

To make certain that this type of situation does not happen to you, make sure that your doctor is certified through the American Board of Medical Specialties. This means that the doctor has earned a medical degree from a qualified medical school, completed three to seven years of accredited residency training, is licensed by a state medical board, and has passed one or more exams administered by a member of the ABMS. To maintain the certification, a doctor is expected to participate in continuing education. To see whether a doctor is certified, you may go online to certificationmatters.org.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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