An Orange County plastic surgeon who dubbed himself “Dr. Laguna” is beneath hearth from dozens of former sufferers and the Orange County District Lawyer’s Workplace amid claims of horribly botched procedures, medical negligence and a short suspension of his medical license following the demise of a affected person.
The chief of the cosmetic surgery division at a south Orange County hospital calls Dr. Arian Mowlavi “a hazard to the neighborhood.”
Not less than three dozen former sufferers have accused Mowlavi of a bunch of allegations — together with the usage of unlicensed technicians to assist carry out surgical procedures, the degrading remedy of disrobed girls and the hard-selling of pointless procedures — in civil lawsuits filed in Orange County Superior Court docket.
A lawsuit filed by prosecutors on the OC DA’s workplace earlier this yr echoed lots of the allegations, whereas additionally accusing Mowlavi of illegal enterprise practices.
“That is life-altering,” one of many former sufferers told NBC News concerning the influence of an allegedly botched liposuction. “It isn’t simply that I didn’t get the outcomes I needed, it’s far more excessive than that.”
Mowlavi can be within the midst of a 10-year probation interval beneath an settlement with the state medical board that included a 90-day suspension of his medical license. All whereas a chapter submitting from the physician — which cites the allegations raised by his former sufferers — makes its approach via court docket.
And Mowlavi is going through an ongoing legal investigation, a prosecutor wrote in a declaration filed with the OC DA’s lawsuit. That’s on high of not less than 5 civil fits — together with the one from the DA’s workplace and 4 involving the previous sufferers — which have been filed towards him.
In his personal court docket filings, Mowlavi has denied being chargeable for any misconduct or medical malpractice, and has accused his critics of attempting to destroy his profession.
“This ongoing and relentless harassment continued to trigger materials injury to my medical observe and to my private well being and well-being, considerably interfering with my means to proceed to observe drugs,” Mowlavi wrote in a single court docket submitting tied to his chapter.
Attorneys tied to the lawsuits filed towards Mowlavi, attorneys representing him, and the ladies making the allegations towards Mowlavi both didn’t reply or couldn’t be reached for remark. However voluminous court docket filings — together with sworn statements by medical friends and former workers of Mowlavi’s — define in vital element the allegations “Dr. Laguna” is going through.
Mowlavi, who based on his personal advertising and marketing materials is “thought-about one of many high physique sculptors on the planet,” has by his personal estimate “carried out over 15,000 procedures and is, as he places it, “properly thought to be a world-renowned face, physique and breast sculptor.”
He has particularly touted himself as an skilled in a way referred to as Excessive Definition Liposuction. In a ebook concerning the process, Mowlavi described Excessive Definition Liposuction as a “sport changer” that “permits your surgeon to exactly sculpt your physique to beforehand unattainable outcomes.”
A canny self-promoter, Mowlavi — a College of California, Berkeley graduate — markets himself on Instagram. Mowlavi additionally gained media consideration for a traditional rock band he carried out with that included himself and different docs, describing music and drugs as his “true loves” in a 2007 Orange County Register interview.
“I assume they’re each very creative – not less than for me, with the kind of drugs I do, it’s very artist and artistic,” Mowlavi informed the Register reporter on the time. “I’ve all the time needed to be a doctor, so it’s not like they’re two separate issues … (They’ve) all the time been a part of my life.”
His accusers allege that over not less than a four-year interval Mowlavi carried out unneeded procedures on sufferers with out their knowledgeable consent and carried out botched procedures that led to disfigurement or an infection, which attorneys for the plaintiffs attributed to a want to place his monetary pursuits forward of his sufferers’ well being and security.
Mowlavi additionally allowed unlicensed workers to carry out some procedures and to deal with post-operative care, the lawsuits allege, and eliminated potential sufferers’ clothes and touched them with out their consent.
“Mowlavi belittled and degraded his sufferers whereas he stood them bare in entrance of a mirror within the session room,” the plaintiff’s attorneys wrote in a number of filings. “Mowlavi pressured sufferers into procedures they didn’t need and occasionally even carried out procedures that sufferers had not agreed to present process.”
“It is a case about a health care provider that believes he’s above the regulation,” the attorneys added.
The previous sufferers described of their fits sudden medical uncomfortable side effects from procedures they underwent with Mowlavi that allegedly left some hospitalized with at-times life-threatening illnesses, and others in medical debt and unable to work.
In an accusation outlined in state medical board information, certainly one of Mowlavi’s sufferers died days after present process surgical procedure beneath his care. Hours after being discharged following a liposuction and a number of different procedures, the lady complained of shortness of breath and collapsed, ending up in an intensive care unit of a hospital. Two days later, the lady died on the hospital, her demise cited as ensuing from “surgical intervention resulting in cardiac arrest and cerebral anoxia,” the latter situation referencing a whole interruption of the availability of oxygen to the mind.
Within the case introduced earlier than the medical board, Mowlavi was alleged to have dedicated “gross negligence” within the case, together with permitting surgical techs to carry out liposuction surgical procedure on the lady. Mowlavi reached a settlement with the medical board, leading to his short-term medical license suspension adopted by a 10-year probation interval. In keeping with the current lawsuits filed towards him, Mowlavi allegedly additionally reached a $1 million settlement with the lady’s household to settle a malpractice case.
Mowlavi, within the written declaration filed in connection to his chapter case, blamed his monetary and authorized troubles on one other social media influencer from Laguna Seaside, who he described as a “vindictive former affected person.” He described her as having carried out an “ongoing and relentless” harassment marketing campaign, and famous that the attorneys she employed in the end ended up representing the opposite former sufferers concerned within the lawsuits.
“Dr. Mowlavi has by no means been chargeable for any ‘sexual misconduct’ or ‘corruption’ or ‘medical malpractice’ or ‘affected person demise,’” an legal professional representing Mowlavi wrote in a submitting in one of many civil instances.
A medical skilled cited in lawsuits filed by each the previous sufferers in addition to the Orange County District Lawyer’s workplace raised severe questions on Mowlavi’s actions.
In sworn statements filed with the court docket, Dr. Robert Kachenmeister — a board-certified plastic surgeon and chief of the cosmetic surgery division at Windfall Mission Hospital — wrote that based mostly on his expertise and observations, Mowlavi had a sample of finishing up pointless and extreme procedures that had an unacceptable frequency of issues.
Dr. Kachenmeister described his division at Mission Hospital having to handle a affected person of what he described as “the Mowlavi process” and ending up with “full necrosis of her stomach wall” — referencing the demise of physique tissue attributable to lack of blood circulate — and accidents that led to her being admitted to the burn unit.
Kachenmeister wrote that he was so disturbed he reported it to the medical board and after listening to from different sufferers decided that “Dr. Mowlavi is a hazard to the neighborhood and to his cosmetic surgery sufferers” who has acted “with deliberate indifference to the well being and security of his sufferers.”
Others who beforehand labored with or for Mowlavi offered their very own declarations in assist of the lawsuits filed by his former sufferers.
A gross sales rep for a medical firm who watched Mowlavi carry out surgical procedure described being stunned that parts of the process have been carried out by his unlicensed workers whereas Mowlavi was out of the room. The gross sales rep additionally alleged that after the process, when the affected person was nonetheless beneath anesthesia, Mowlavi exclaimed “So sizzling, take a look at that” earlier than slapping the affected person twice on the butt.
An skilled registered nurse, in one other declaration, described Mowlavi showing to get pissed off at a “affected person he didn’t like” and reaching into her mouth to tear out an endotracheal tube and throw it throughout the room. The nurse described sending Mowlavi’s workplace supervisor a textual content saying that Mowlavi was “off his rocker,” including “I believe he’s misplaced his thoughts. He deliberately extubated a affected person this morning for no legitimate purpose. His actions present a whole and complete disregard for affected person security … He wants some assist.”
Certainly one of Mowlavi’s former sufferers, in an interview with NBC News, described getting sepsis, a doubtlessly lethal an infection, after present process surgical procedure. One other former affected person, in an interview with the Daily Beast, stated she spent per week in ache after her surgical procedure, collapsed in her house, was taken to the emergency room and after waking up from a medical coma discovered she had accidents that “appear to be I’m a shark chew sufferer.”
The OC DA, of their lawsuit, stated the alleged use of unlicensed workers for pre-operative care, medical procedures and surgical procedures, and post-operative care each day constitutes “the unlicensed observe of drugs” and is subsequently a violation of enterprise practices, since they’re accused of performing procedures solely licensed people needs to be doing.
Mowlavi, in his personal filings, has contended that he has by no means been discovered accountable for medical malpractice and has by no means had a affected person die on the working desk.
The DA’s lawsuit says that confronted with the allegations, Mowlavi carried out “illegal transactions” for the aim of “avoiding monetary legal responsibility.”
The lawsuit alleges that after studying of the medical malpractice accusations, Mowlavi in September 2021 transferred an estimated $13 million in belongings to his partner.
Lawsuits from the previous sufferers have been filed a number of months later, in December 2021, adopted by Mowlavi submitting for Chapter 11 chapter safety in early 2022.
The DA’s lawsuit alleges that within the assertion of monetary affairs that Mowlavi was required to file in his chapter case, “Mowlavi didn’t checklist the September switch of $13,000,000 of actual property and private property to his partner, thereby concealing this switch from the court docket and his collectors.”
Mowlavi has not but filed a response.
- California plastic surgeon ‘Dr. Laguna’ faces dozens of claims, from botched procedures to medical negligence
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