Monday, October 31, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.
A local doctor whose seven-year probation stint was slated to end recently, had it extended, for the second time, because he owes the state medical board more than $28,000.
Dr. Juan Fernando Lizarraga's fees -- some for probation monitoring and others for "cost recovery" -- stem from the 2004 probation sentence he got for the mistreatment of eleven patients.
Lizarraga had an "extreme departure from the standard of practice" in those cases, according to documents housed on the medical board's site.
He had a pattern of not keeping adequate documentation, not evaluating and following up on important complaints and ordering unnecessary diagnostic tests, the document states.
Even after admitting to negligence and inadequate recording keeping, he didn't quite stay on the straight and narrow during 2004. Later that year, he was disciplined for "alcohol abuse, which affected his competency to practice medicine," the document states.
He was evaluated by an internist who said his medical knowledge "appeared substandard" and later by a psychologist who diagnosed him with "alcohol dependence, adjustment disorder with depression and narcissistic personality features," according to another document on the board's site.
He was suspended from practicing medicine for a few months, but took "affirmative steps to address his impairment" and was allowed to practice again, the document states.
While his probation was only supposed to last for five years, an extra two were tacked on in 2007 because he didn't sign up for an ethics course and a clinical education program within the allotted amount of time.
Then, last Friday his probation was extended again. It will remain in effect until he pays the board the $28 grand he owes.
On the state medical board's site, Lizarraga's address of record is at a clinic on Brea Boulevard in Fullerton. An employee at the clinic, who answered the phone but didn't want to give her name, said Lizarraga stopped working there four months ago, adding that she didn't know if he was working elsewhere now.