On this blog we often talk about things in the news, especially when it can help others. Today’s news story comes from North Carolina. It involves a surgeon who is being charged by the NC medical board.
Who is he? The surgeon being charged is Dr. Gustavo Diaz. He’s an ENT surgeon based in Huntersville. He works at the Lifestyle Lift center there.
What is he charged with? Dr. Diaz has been charged by the board with several things:
- Providing insufficient care for 3 patients, one of whom died
- Unprofessional conduct (did not monitor 2 patients after giving sedation; and allegedly performed inappropriate procedures for them)
- Prescribing a controlled substance to a family member
Obviously these are serious charges. It’s good that the NC medical board is taking them seriously.
What happens now? His lawyer says they will defend against the charges. There is a hearing in October. You would think Dr. Diaz would step down while these charges are pending. But the news says this is not the case. According to an article on the topic, they called his office and found he’s still accepting new patients. (He doesn’t have to do anything special during this time, so he’s not breaking any laws here.) Even while this is ongoing, the board has received more information. There was a separate complaint from 2009 in which a patient died after receiving a facelift. In that case, it was found that:
- Dr. Diaz did not fully examine the patient’s heart and lungs prior to the surgery
- He had not fully reviewed the patient’s medical history
- He did not monitor the patient during the surgery
- He also did not check vitals before allowing the patient to leave
It all sounds as though it could be pretty conclusive that there is some type of misconduct here. However, we have to wait and let the investigation run its course. This could all be misinformation at this stage. Once the board determines what happened in all of the above cases, it will determine if further action needs to be taken.
Why Should You Care? Since all of this happened in another state, you might be wondering what it matters. The reality is that this can happen anywhere. Surgeons are out there that take shortcuts, and the consequences are disastrous. We like to point out these types of stories to let people know of the risks. We’re not trying to scare anyone! But it pays to be informed whenever you’re thinking about a medical procedure.
All surgery comes with risks. With such big risks, it’s worth the time and effort to do some background research to be sure that the surgeon has a good reputation. Be sure your surgeon is board certified. Do online research and ask around. Get referrals. (Be wary of anyone who isn’t willing to provide referral information.) These simple steps can provide you with good information. They can also give you peace of mind when making a big decision.