The chief of surgery at two Orange County hospitals has been disciplined by the state Medical Board for the third time since 2002 for negligence in his treatment of patients, and the chief of staff at a third OC hospital is fighting to stay out of prison for allegedly embezzling $220,000.
The medical board had tried to revoke Dr. Ali Fouladi's license, but the chairman of surgery at Garden Grove Hospital and Chapman Medical Center in Orange successfully appealed to an administrative law judge. Last month, Judge Beth Faber Jacobs ordered that Fouladi instead be placed on probation for four years, starting May 1. During that time, Fouladi will be required to receive more training and oversight.
The latest allegations against him stem from surgeries he performed to remove a cyst from a man's back and a cancerous tumor from a woman's breast, as well as his performance in a clinical course, which he was required to take after one of his patients died in 2007. Computer-based tests indicated Fouladi might have poor memory, judgment or other brain and cognitive functions, according to the medical board, which argued he could not safely practice medicine.
But Jacobs heard from five of Fouladi's colleagues at Fountain Valley Hospital, Garden Grove Hospital and Chapman Medical Center, with their testimony indicating he wields "sharp" skills, "remarkable" reasoning and "very good medical knowledge."
Two colleagues testified they didn't know Fouladi had been disciplined previously by the medical board. One was for the physician performing hernia surgery on the wrong side of a patient at Garden Grove Hospita in 2002. Ten years later, the medical board disciplined him again for improperly sealing a man's small intestine during surgery, leading to renal failure and a serious infection. The patient died a month later.
The move to revoke his license stemmed from a case later that same year. Besides the poor computer-based test results, Fouladi gave a breast cancer patient outdated information on treatment options, made an "excessive" incision during a biopsy and "ignored" suspicious tissue in her other breast.
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The accused embezzler is Dr. Bruce Allan Hagadorn, who is accused of taking $220,000 from a charity he established when he was chief of staff at Irvine Regional Hospital and putting it into his own medical practice, Canyon Pacific OB/GYN in Irvine, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
After Irvine Regional closed, hospital officials voted to donate the money to a foundation supporting Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach and put Hagadom in charge of making the donation.
Besides failing to give the money to the foundation, the 56-year-old Newport Beach resident is accused of failing to file personal and business income tax returns for several years. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment to charges that could send him to state prison for up to 10 years and four months.