This story was sent to me as a joke by my paralegal, Faye, but it was so shocking, I had to share it with you in this blog.
It is not often that I report on medical malpractice, and I have never reported on a case where anyone impersonated a doctor, but it happened right here in San Francisco. The case of Carlos Guzmangarza, who performed an illegal liposuction surgery on a woman out of a medical office not owned by him, has come to my attention.
This San Francisco man, who allegedly posed as a doctor on an unsuspecting woman, has been arrested on several felony charges.
This 49-year-old Carlos Guzmangarza, also known as Carlos Guzman, allegedly operated a dermatology clinic in the 2500 block of San Francisco's Mission Street called the Derma Clinic and assumed the identity of a physician's assistant with a similar name to his, according to the district attorney's office. Guzmangarza has no medical license.
In early 2010, a somewhat gullible yet innocent woman paid him $3,000 for this liposuction procedure which began as he picked up the woman at her house, drove her to the office, and had her hold her IV bag for him during the procedure, during which he smoked a cigar. Not entirely shocking is that an infection developed in the victim's abdomen.
What startles me the most is not that this supposed "doctor" showed up at his "patient's" home after the surgery to flush 6 pounds of her fat down her own toilet, but that he was not arrested sooner–Guzman is facing 12 years in state prison–for:
- four felony counts of practicing medicine without a license
- three counts of assault with force likely to cause great bodily harm
- one count of battery for the procedures he performed
- felony counts of false impersonation
- grand theft
Putting lives at risk is no joke. Liposuction surgery, like any surgery, is an intricate surgical procedure that comes with risk of infection or death, or possibly disfigurement.
The point I most wanted to make about this case is that when Guzman posed as a doctor he defrauded his patient. And when he performed surgery on her under false pretenses, this was an unlawful touching or a battery. A battery is any touching without consent. When the consent is obtained fraudulently, the touching is a battery.
This rather extreme case is just an example of how battery can occur in a situation you would not at all expect. Most people think of a battery as a punch in the nose, but it can take other forms seemingly more innocent, yet potentially just as harmful.
As a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer, I commend District Attorney George who stated that,
"My office will hold people accountable for endangering the lives of innocent people."
Furthermore, Dan Wood, spokesman for the Medical Board of California, said,
"This is a very serious matter and we take it very seriously. We're very glad to be able to shut this person down."
This behavior is straight out of a Hollywood horror flick.
About the author: Claude Wyle from San Francisco is an aggressive advocate for those harmed by battery and Claude believes everyone should feel confident in their personal safety. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco personal injury attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured adults inflicted by intential torts throughout his legal career.
Claude A. Wyle is a partner of Choulos Choulos, and Wyle, a San Francisco based law firm dedicated to representing clients who have been injured by the wrongful conduct of individuals, corporations, public entities, and businesses. Mr. Wyle also frequently sits as a Judge Pro Tem for the city and county of San Francisco.