Bakersfield doctor accused of gross negligence after patient died following liposuction

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield doctor is facing allegations of gross negligence in connection with a patient who received liposuction and a tummy tuck in 2016 and died the next day, according to an accusation filed with the Medical Board of California.

The accusation says Dr. Sarwa Aldoori had insufficient training to perform the procedures, kept inadequate medical records and failed to document her discharge recommendations and the patient’s refusal of home nursing care.

The coroner’s office ruled the patient, a 43-year-old woman whose name was not included in the accusation, died from a fat embolism — when fat globules enter the bloodstream — due to abdominal surgical procedure and liposuction, with adult respiratory distress contributing, according to the accusation.

Aldoori on Friday denied she was negligent, saying she capably performed the surgery and the patient suffered a well-known complication of the procedure.

“I don’t neglect patients, I don’t do those things,” Aldoori said. “It is bad luck that it happened.”

The accusation, filed Dec. 22, asks for a hearing on the allegations to be followed by a decision on whether Aldoori’s license will be revoked or suspended, among other possible penalties. A hearing had not been scheduled as of Friday and Aldoori has not been found guilty of any charges.

Aldoori and her husband own Advanced Healthcare of Bakersfield, the accusation says, and on March 23, 2016, a patient sought consultation for a tummy tuck, liposuction and fat transfer to the buttocks.

A Spanish language interpreter was used to conduct the consultation, and Aldoori said she advised the patient that fat embolism was a risk of the procedures, according to the accusation.

A pre-operative evaluation was scheduled April 7 with the surgery to occur April 13.

There is no documentation by Saldoori for the consultation or the pre-op evaluation, the accusation says.

The liposuction and tummy tuck were performed April 13. According to the accusation, those procedures took long enough that the buttock augmentation procedure was not performed.

The patient was monitored after surgery, but the accusation says only four sets of vital signs were taken during three hours and 45 minutes of monitoring, and fluid input and output was not closely assessed.

Aldoori recommended a nurse accompany the patient home, but the patient’s family allegedly refused, according to the accusation.

“The conversations regarding the recommendation and refusal of the nurse were not documented in Patient 1’s medical record,” the accusation says.

At about 4:36 a.m. the next day the patient’s family called 911. When paramedics arrived, the patient was unconscious and had no pulse, according to the accusation.

She was taken to Mercy Hospital and pronounced dead April 15.

An outpatient surgery clinic is required to be properly license and credentialed to provide surgical and anesthetic services, the accusation says.

“Patient 1 underwent surgical procedures … at Advanced Healthcare, an outpatient office, which was not credentialed as an outpatient surgery center,” according to the accusation. “This is an extreme departure from the standard of care.”

The accusation notes the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education says successfully completing a residency in plastic surgery includes 36 months of education in clinical plastic surgery experience.

“(Aldoori) only completed a residency in family medicine as well as a seven-day plastic surgery course and a one-month liposuction and fat grafting source,” the accusation says.

Performing the surgical procedures without adequate training was an extreme departure from the standard of care, the accusation says, as was failing to document the patient’s informed consent and the discussions regarding her recommendation against going home without a nurse accompanying her.

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