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Rocklin doctor's license suspended

Wife accused of Controlled Substance Act violations
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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View public records regarding Dr. Efrain Gonzalez at www.mbc.ca.gov.

A Rocklin doctor accused of negligence has had his medical license suspended, and the reach of the case has spread to include the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Gonzalez, a gynecologist practicing as a cosmetic surgeon at his Advanced Med Spa clinic on Sunset Boulevard, is accused of gross negligence and incompetence in a 95-page complaint filed on New Year’s Eve 2012 by the California Medical Board. The complaint outlines 56 causes for discipline regarding 15 patients, including one who said she received the wrong size breast implants, another who said she woke up at the end of surgery to find an unlicensed surgical technician, not Gonzalez, applying sutures to her abdomen and another who reportedly suffered necrosis of her nipple following a breast augmentation.

Gonzalez, 52, was arrested March 15, along with his wife, Dr. Yessennia Candelaria. Both were booked into and released from the Placer County Jail the same day, according to jail records. The California Medical Board issued a brief statement about the arrest, saying, “The Medical Board was involved in the investigation that led to the arrest of Dr. Efrain Gonzalez. Investigations are not public record and no other information can be provided at this time regarding the arrest.”

Gonzalez is charged with mayhem, which, according to the state penal code “unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of their body, or disables, disfigures or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ears or lip.”

That same day, Advanced Med Spa was the subject of an administrative inspection by the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to a report filed after the inspection, agents seized from the clinic copies of the medication log, along with the narcotics log and surgical log, document listing what controlled substances needed to be ordered for Advanced Med Spa, order forms and order confirmation forms for controlled substance distributor McKesson Corporation.

In the affidavit for the application to obtain the inspection warrant, DEA Diversion Investigator Mark Jackson outlines the reasons for a search, starting with a case where a woman who had traveled to Rocklin from Boston for a buttocks augmentation and lip implant procedure complained from her hospital room after the surgery about “something not feeling right.” Gonzalez and his wife, a pediatrician who reportedly administers anesthesia at Advanced Med Spa, allegedly went to the hotel room with a bottle of Demerol, a Schedule 2 controlled substance, where Gonzales reportedly instructed the patient’s boyfriend how to inject the substance with a needle. A few hours later, after the girlfriend complained of still being in a lot of pain, Gonzalez allegedly instructed the boyfriend to administer the other half of the syringe.

In the investigation conducted by Medical Board of California Investigator Roberto Moya, an instance was identified in which, allegedly, “Dr. Candelaria was administering anesthesia (believed to be Demerol) intravenously to a patient in the operating room while simultaneously administering the drug to herself via an additional intravenous line. According to a medical assistant assisting in the procedure, Dr. Candelaria lost consciousness in the operating room.”

On March 25, Administrative Law Judge Karen J. Brandt ordered that Gonzalez’s physician’s and surgeon’s certificate be suspended until a hearing is held on the matter. The Office of Administrative Hearing’s calendar had initially listed an Aug. 5 date for Gonzalez’s hearing; now a hearing is set for April 12 in Sacramento.

At the March 25 hearing, Deputy Attorney General Margaret Phe argued that Gonzalez had “engaged in acts or omissions constituting violations of the Medical Practice Act,” and that “permitting respondent to continue to engage in the practice of medicine will endanger the public health.”

Brandt’s order states that Gonzalez may not practice any medicine or surgery in the state of California pending further adjudication on the matter; may not advertise himself as practicing or available to practice medicine or supervise medical assistants; may not be present in any location maintained for the practice of medicine except as a patient or visitor of family and friends; and may not possess, order, purchase, receive, prescribe, furnish, administer or otherwise distribute controlled substances.

According to the California Medical Board’s website, Candelaria’s license is still current. Gonzalez’s attorney, Albert J. Garcia, did not return a call for comment.