ASC surgeon charged with involuntary manslaughter has license restricted

The Medical Board of California has restricted the license of a plastic surgeon who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after one of his patients died after a breast augmentation procedure at an ASC.

Carlos Chacon, MD, and Heather Lang, RN, of Divino Plastic Surgery Center in Bonita, Calif., pleaded not guilty in December, three years after the death of their former patient, Megan Espinoza, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Family members of Ms. Espinoza are also suing the pair for malpractice in civil court.

In December, the state medical board requested a court order for Dr. Chacon to cease practice pending the outcome of the criminal charges, but the hearing isn't until late March. Until then, he and Ms. Lang can practice with some limitations, according to ABC10 News.

According to the Medical Board of California, Dr. Chacon is "prohibited from performing surgery unless anesthesia is administered by a licensed anesthesiologist physician or a CRNA" who is licensed to administer anesthesia independently without supervision of a physician. Other conditions outline that he cannot direct unlicensed personnel to administer anesthesia or IV meds or service IV bags, and he must notify the court if he intends to travel outside of the state of California

The Medical Board of California's report, made public in December, claims Dr. Chacon admitted prior to surgery that "there was no discussion with [the patient] regarding the absence of an anesthesiologist."

Ms. Lang allegedly sedated Ms. Espinoza, even though she did not have the proper training to do so. Dr. Chacon and Ms. Lang are also accused of ordering an unlicensed medical assistant to inject medication into Ms. Espinoza's IV during surgery.

Ms. Espinoza reportedly went into cardiac arrest during her Dec. 19, 2018, surgery, but Dr. Chacon did not immediately call 911 "even as [she] started to make gurgling noises and exhibit seizure-like activity," the medical board's report stated, according to ABC10 News. Paramedics were eventually called and rushed Ms. Espinoza to hospital, where she was intubated and placed in an intensive care unit. Ms. Espinoza never woke up or regained the ability to breathe on her own, and she died Jan. 28, 2019, more than six weeks after the operation.

The preliminary hearing for Dr. Chacon and Ms. Lang is scheduled for March.

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