You might guess that a doctor’s medical license would be revoked amid allegations of “dishonest acts,” “gross negligence,” “unprofessional conduct,” “repeated negligent acts,” “acts of dishonesty and corruption,” committing “extreme departures from the standard of care,” representing “an an immediate threat to the health and safety of his patients” and posing “a danger to the public if he is allowed to continue to practice medicine.”
Let us also throw in that said OB/GYN has a string of hospitals that have suspended, denied or terminated his privileges.
However, per Administrative Law Judge Howard W. Cohen, we have two words for you: guess again.
Cohen on Monday restricted, but did not revoke, the license of board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. David Huang Kwa Su, who is now prohibited from engaging in the solo practice of medicine and performing more than 10 operative deliveries per month. Cohen also ordered Su to have a co-surgeon present during any operative delivery, surgery or procedure (for the entire procedure) and have his practice monitored at all hospitals or facilities where he has privileges or engages in the practice of medicine.
The Medical Board of California brought the case against the namesake of David H. Su, M.D., Inc., Irvine Women Center in Irvine. The Orange resident also holds privileges at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana.
However, Su had privileges pulled in March 2015 from what was then Western Medical Center Santa Ana (now Orange County Global Medical Center) for failing to see a patient for three days while documenting that he had seen her. In July of that same year, Medical Center of Garden Grove terminated Su’s privileges for failing to properly evaluate patients to determine babies’ gestational ages, repeatedly performing Cesarean sections at less than 39 weeks gestation and keeping inaccurate, incomplete or misleading documentation.
In December 2015, Monarch HealthCare terminated Su’s privileges for failing to address a 30-year-old patient’s positive diabetes screening result, and the following April Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center denied Su’s application for privileges because while he acknowledged two hospitals had revoked his privileges, he failed to name them.
The medical board concluded that between May 2010 and August 2015, Su “was grossly negligent in the care and treatment of five patients; engaged in repeated negligent acts in the care and treatment of those five patients and three other patients; engaged in dishonest acts and made false representations in November 2013, January 2015 and April 2015; and failed to maintain adequate and accurate records.”
All of this, the board found, “constituted unprofessional conduct that warrants issuance of an ISO (Interim Suspension Order).”
Dr. David M. Plourd, a licensed physician board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, submitted a declaration to the board that stated Su “represents an immediate threat to the health and safety of his patients, and is a danger to the public if he is allowed to continue to practice medicine.”
Su argued that the ISO was unnecessary because since mid-2015, he restructured his practice “to avoid stressors and prevent departures from the standard of care,” according to court documents, which show the OB/GYN conceded to having previously been overworked, given improper care and failed when it came to filling out documents.
Dr. Howard Mandel, the former chairman of Gynecology and Surgery at Century City Hospital and Century Doctors Hospital, declared to Judge Cohen that limiting Su to 10 deliveries a month is “prudent” and “reasonable,” and Mandel denied that Su is “an endangerment to public health, safety and welfare” because his schedule is now more conducive to guaranteeing proper patient care. Suggesting that Su can continue to safely practice medicine with proper oversight by a monitor, Mandel noted that Hoag and South Coast Global are aware of the allegations.
Dr. Patrick Aguilera, chief of staff at South Coast Global, also put in a good declaration for Su, calling him “a member in good standing” and confirming that hospital officials are aware of the allegations, including Chairman of the Department of Maternal and Child Health Services Dr. Ali R. Hamzeh, who is willing to act as Su’s monitor at the hospital as well as at his private practice.
Cohen concluded that Su “has changed his practices to avoid a repetition of that conduct” detailed by the medical board. “Denying an ISO would not endanger the public health, safety or welfare,” Cohen writes, “so long as respondent’s certificate is appropriately restricted.”