A Scalpel and 99 Bottles of Beer
An administrative law judge heard the Attorney General's case against alcoholic-plastic surgeon-gone-bad, Brian West, in Sacramento this week. The hearings followed the accusation filed earlier this year by the Medical Board of California alleging that West had performed multiple acts of gross negligence against several of his former patients.
Three former patients, a string of experts from both sides, pathologists and West himself took the stand. The patients allege they were disfigured after West performed surgeries on them while simultaneously participating in the state's problematic and now-abolished secret treatment program for his alcoholism. Late this summer the now infamous SoCal plastic surgeon filed a restraining order against another former patient he said had ruined his name.
According to sources in Sacramento who have filled us in on the hearings, the prosecution left some gaping holes during their cross examination, much to the chagrin of patients who have waited years for the state to hear their cases.
The judge will decide by December whether to take West's license, or at minimum, reprimand him for the allegations of gross negligence made by the Attorney General. Since relocating to Southern California, West has jumped from job to job in Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Pasadena and other cities down the coast.
Only three of the more than a dozen cases filed against West made it through the board's lengthy and inconsistent investigatory process, and also survived a peculiar statute of limitations. In the case of cancer patient Becky Anderson, who was a subject in our story about West earlier this year, the medical board found cause for gross negligence and had scheduled her case as part of this week's hearings. But later this year, the case was mysteriously dropped due to a "statute of limitations issue" and Anderson passed away. It turns out the board had been notified of her case years before, after she settled with West for $250,000, but the board simply sat on it and then closed it instead of investigating it. See the messy, sad story here.