California Medical Board taking hard line on phony doctors

November 19, 2012

California Medical Board taking a hard line on phony doctors
California Medical Board taking a hard line on phony doctors

California is known to be one of the most popular locations for plastic surgery, but does that mean it has a higher proportion of fake doctors trying to scam customers into paying less for low-quality procedures? The Medical Board of California is taking a look at whether that's the case, and has been stepping up its investigations into questionable surgeons, reports California Watch.

This year, the board's branch responsible for investigating medical professionals, called Operation Safe Medicine (OSM), found 61 cases that demanded attention from prosecutors, compared to 31 the year before, according to the news source. Those figures, released on Friday, November 9, come from a review of medical board operations over the past few years.

Some of those cases were quite shocking. In San Francisco last December, one man was accused of performing liposuction while smoking a cigar. According to prosecutors, the phony doctor, Carlos Guzmangarza, had no assistant during the procedure and even had the patient hold her own IV bag. They also allege that Guzmangarza was using an identity stolen from an actual physician.

"The Board believes that the OSM Unit is imperative in order to protect the public from the actions of unlicensed practitioners," reads a statement from Jennifer Simoes, the medical board's chief of legislation, according to the news source.

It can sometimes be difficult for patients to know when they're being swindled by a fake doctor, but groups like the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) are here to help. The organization offers a tool on their website with which patients can look up surgeons and make sure they're board-certified and qualified to perform certain procedures. ASAPS encourages patients to inquire about doctors' experience or ask to see before and after photos of surgeries during consultations.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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