ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICIAL: MS. SAUNDERS TO SUSPEND MED LICENSE

THE COURT: ON BEHALF OF THE MEDICAL BOARD, DOES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL JUDITH ALVARADO WISH TO BE HEARD?

 

MS. ALVARADO:   ACTUALLY, MY COLLEAGUE, MS. SAUNDERS, WILL ADDRESS THE COURT.

 

THE COURT:   MS. SAUNDER HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY. WOULD THE MEDICAL BOARD LIKE TO BE HEARD, MS. SAUNDERS?

 

MS. SAUNDERS:   YES, YOUR HONOR.

 

THE COURT:   YOU MAY.

 

MS. SAUNDERS:   GOOD AFTERNOON. YOUR HONOR, WE ARE APPEARING ESPECIALLY ON BEHALF OF LINDA K. WHITNEY, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE

 MEDICAL BOARD IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY. WE ARE APPEARING PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY OF PENAL CODE SECTION 23 TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE AND PROMOTE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE AND RECOMMENDING THIS COURT CONSIDER AS A CONDITION OF BAIL THAT THE DEFENDANT BE RESTRAINED IN THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE HERE IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA PENDING THE OUTCOME OF THESE PROCEEDINGS, THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

THE DEFENDANT’S CRIME IS SUBSTANTIALLY RELATED TO HIS QUALIFICATIONS, FUNCTIONS, AND DUTIES AS A PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON.   THE COURT HAS THE AUTHORITY TO

 PLACE RESTRICTIONS UPON A DEFENDANT AS A CONDITION OF BAIL TO INSURE PUBLIC SAFETY.   PUBLIC SAFETY SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY CONSIDERATION IN SETTING BAIL.

 

GOOD CAUSE EXISTS PURSUANT TO PENAL CODE SECTION 1289 TO CHANGE THE BAIL OF THE DEFENDANT TO PROHIBIT HIM FROM PRACTICING MEDICINE DURING THE PENDENCY OF THESE PROCEEDINGS.

 

BY INTERVENING AT THIS JUNCTURE AFTER THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN HELD OVER FOR TRIAL, ONE OF THE SIGNIFICANT PREDICATES TO THE COURT’S ABILITY IS TO ORDER THIS DEFENDANT TO NOT PRACTICE AND SHOW THAT HE POSSESSES A DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN MET.

 

BASED ON A WEEK LONG PRELIMINARY HEARING IN WHICH WITNESSES WERE CALLED BY THE PEOPLE AND SUBJECT TO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY THE DEFENSE COUNSEL, THE COURT HAS FOUND SUFFICIENT CAUSE TO HOLD THIS DEFENDANT OVER FOR TRIAL.   THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN HELD OVER, AND THERE ARE RESTRICTIONS CURRENTLY ON HIS LICENSE.   WE ASK THAT THOSE REMAIN IN EFFECT.

BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT, WE ASK THIS COURT, BASED ON THE EVIDENCE THAT HAS BEEN PRESENTED HERE IN THIS PRELIMINARY HEARING, TO FURTHER PROHIBIT HIM FROM PRACTICING AT ALL IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

 

THE TESTIMONY OF FIREFIGHTER PARAMEDICS SENNEFF AND BLOUNT PROVIDED BASIS TO BELIEVE THAT THE DEFENDANT WAITED AT LEAST 20 MINUTES TO AN HOUR TO CALL 911 AFTER THE DECEDENT HAD ALREADY PASSED. THE TESTIMONY OF DETECTIVE MARTINEZ IS THAT BY HIS OWN ADMISSION THE DEFENDANT DID NOT CONTINUOUSLY MONITOR THE PATIENT WHILE THE PATIENT WAS UNDER HEAVY

 SEDATION.   THE PATIENT WAS IN A HOME SETTING WITH SEDATIVES THAT SHOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN ADMINISTERED AT A HOSPITAL WHILE UNDER THE CARE AND MONITORING OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST AND OTHER TRAINED PERSONNEL ON A CONSTANT BASIS.

 

THE FIREFIGHTERS AND DRS. COOPER AND NGUYEN, WHEN FINALLY ENLISTED BY DEFENDANT TO HELP PROVIDE LIFESAVING MEASURES, WERE NOT INFORMED BY THE DEFENDANT OF THE PATIENT’S CONDITION, OF THE DRUGS THAT HE HAD GIVEN THE PATIENT, OR FULL AND ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF HIS MEDICAL HISTORY.   THE DEFENDANT WITHHELD INFORMATION THAT WOULD HAVE HELPED IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.

 

THE CORONER TESTIFIED HERE.   HE DEEMED THAT MICHAEL JACKSON’S DEATH WAS A RESULT OF A HOMICIDE.   THE DEFENDANT’S CARE OF THE PATIENT WAS SUBSTANDARD.   HE USED PROPOFOL WHEN NOT INDICATED, AND THE DEFENDANT WAS NOT PREPARED TO TREAT THE COMPLICATIONS OF THE PATIENT INCLUDING INTUBATION, AND HE LEFT THE PATIENT ALONE.

 

THE PATIENT DIED WHILE UNDER THE DIRECT CARE OF THE DEFENDANT; NOTABLY, THE CORONER DEEMED THAT THE PATIENT’S DEATH WAS A HOMICIDE REGARDLESS OF WHO ADMINISTERED THE LETHAL DOSE OF PROPOFOL.

 

ALL OF THE UNPAID PHYSICIAN WITNESSES AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS FOUND THAT THE DEFENDANT DEVIATED FROM THE STANDARD OF CARE AND FAILED TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE MEDICAL CARE TO THE PATIENT.

 

IF THIS DEFENDANT IS ALLOWED TO RETAIN THE PRIVILEGE OF PRACTICING MEDICINE, THE PUBLIC IS AT RISK

 OF FURTHER SIMILAR DEVIATIONS.   THE STATE HAS THE RIGHT

TO REQUIRE THAT THOSE LICENSED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE BE OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER, RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY.   THOSE WERE NOT DEMONSTRATED BY THIS DEFENDANT.

 

 

WHILE THE BOARD CAN SEEK DISCIPLINARY CHARGES BASED ON A CONVICTION PURSUANT TO BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE 2236, WAITING FOR POSSIBLE CONVICTION TO TAKE ACTION PUTS THE PUBLIC AT RISK IN THE MEANTIME. SIMILARLY, THE BOARD CAN TAKE ACTION PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 11529.   HOWEVER, THE BOARD’S BURDEN IS LOWER THAN THAT OF THE PROSECUTION HERE IN THIS CRIMINAL PROCEEDING.   AND SHOULD THE BOARD PROCEED SIMULTANEOUSLY OR BEFORE THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, IT MIGHT INTERFERE WITH THESE PROCEEDINGS.

 

THIS COURT HAS THE POWER TO IMPOSE CONDITIONS OF BAIL WHICH WILL SAFEGUARD THE PUBLIC WHILE THE CRIMINAL CASE PROCEEDS AND UNTIL THE BOARD CAN TAKE DISCIPLINARY ACTION.   SUCH AN ORDER WOULD SATISFY THE DICTATES OF THE PROVISIONS OF PENAL CODE SECTION 1275, THAT THE PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL BE THE PRIMARY CONSIDERATION.

 

THE DEFENDANT’S DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO AVOID THIS TEMPORARY RESTRICTION IS SATISFIED BY HIS RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDING.   ALLOWING DEFENDANT TO CONTINUE TO PRACTICE IS TOO GREAT OF A RISK TO THE PUBLIC TO UNDERTAKE AT THIS POINT.

 

FOR THESE REASONS, THE BOARD RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THIS COURT PROHIBIT THE DEFENDANT’S PRACTICE OF MEDICINE IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DURING THE PENDENCY OF THESE PROCEEDINGS.

 

IF THE COURT IS NOT SO INCLINED, THE BOARD REQUESTS THAT, AT MINIMUM, THE COURT PRESERVE THE LICENSE RESTRICTIONS THAT ARE IN PLACE DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE

 CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.

 

THANK YOU, YOUR HONOR.