A San Diego Plastic Surgeon and nurse, who are both charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of a patient, are allowed to continue performing surgery. It has been confirmed by ABC10 News that neither of them are obligated to inform their new patients of the pending charges.
Dr. Carlos Chacon and nurse Heather Lang were charged with involuntary manslaughter and treating the sick without a certificate. They have been accused of performing a botched breast augmentation that led to the 2018 death of 36-year-old Megan Espinoza. Both have pleaded not guilty.
According to a report released by the California Board of Health, Nurse Lang sedated Espinoza even though she reportedly didn’t have adequate training to do so. Shortly after, Espinoza reportedly became “pulseless”.
Over a span of almost two hours, the doctor and nurse reportedly tried using an AED, CPR, various medications and a ventilator. Video footage of the surgery apparently shows Dr. Chacon using life support “cheat sheets” while trying to rescue Espinoza.
Instead of calling 911, Dr. Chacon reportedly called two anesthesiologists he formally worked with for advice. One of them even offered to come in and help, but the doctor reportedly declined.
Paramedics were finally called three hours after Espinoza had become “comatose” and suffered cardiac arrest. She died in the hospital several days later.
The Medical Board of California sent the following statement to ABC 10News.
“The Medical Board of California (Board) filed a public accusation against Dr. Chacon on Tuesday, December 21, and it was posted to his [public profile] yesterday afternoon.
At this time, Dr. Chacon is subject to bail conditions imposing practice restrictions set by the Superior Court. On Monday, December 20, the Board requested a court order that would require Dr. Chacon to cease practice pending the outcome of the criminal charges. The Superior Court judge ordered a hearing to consider evidence for this request to be held on March 23-24, 2022.
The accusation brought against Dr. Chacon by the Board is published on the Board’s website to help notify the public of these charges. The Medical Practice Act does not require Dr. Chacon to notify his patients of his pending criminal charges or this accusation. News stories like this will help to notify the public and to remind individuals to check up on their doctor’s license through the Medical Board of California at [mbc.ca.gov].”
For the next three months, Dr. Chacon and Lang can continue performing surgeries with some limitations set by the court. The DA’s Office sent the following to ABC 10News:
“Chacon’s conditions of release are:
- He may only perform surgery if anesthesia is administered by a licensed Anesthesiologist, or a licensed CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) who is licensed to administer anesthesia independently without supervision of a physician;
- He may only perform surgery in a licensed, certified out-patient surgery center, or hospital
- He may not direct unlicensed personnel to administer anesthesia, IV meds, or service IV bags in any manner
- He must notify the court if he intends to travel outside of the State of California
Lang/Vass conditions of release are:
- She may only administer anesthesia under direct supervision of a licensed Anesthesiologist or a licensed CRNA;
- She may not direct unlicensed personnel to administer anesthesia, IV meds, or service IV bags in any manner”
Espinoza’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.