Drunk Doctor Gets Bad News -- Sort Of

Brian West, the former local plastic surgeon with a hard-to-kick drinking problem accused of disfiguring some patients, and who later filed a restraining order against one of them, has been found guilty in two of the four cases brought against him by the state Attorney General -- one, for lying to an investigator about being on his way to the hospital when he got into a drunken driving accident, and the other for disfiguring a former cancer patient after performing a surgery she had not consented to.

Although West had been caught lying about his drinking in the past by the Medical Board of California (for which he received five years of probation), his license had not been revoked. This time, the state Attorney General's office was seeking a revocation. Although the administrative law judge's guilty findings were grounds for revoking his license, the decision to revoke was stayed, and West was given an additional year of probation and a 30-day suspension. In a strange Medical Board twist, however, these additional punishments may not be carried out.

The notoriously secretive state board, which would enforce the decision, has decided not to adopt the judge's order. Instead, the board has decided that a board panel will decide the case. It's unclear why the board issued the "Order of Non-Adoption of Proposed Decision" a couple of weeks ago -- sources close to the story say it could be to determine harsher punishment. Calls to the board have not been returned. To read the decision, click here and enter the doctor's name.
Update to follow...


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