Making the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery is a major choice that should be thoroughly thought out before agreeing to go through with it. For some, it’s a matter of helping them feel normal again after an accident leaves their body scared. For others, it’s about feeling great about yourself after battling breast cancer. Not all cosmetic surgery procedures are purely about vanity, so it’s important that all cosmetic surgeons take the best care of their patients, no matter what their need for cosmetic surgery is.
A Rocklin cosmetic physician is currently under house arrest after being charged with 112 felonies. Dr. Efrain Gonzalez, a cosmetic surgeon who owned his own practice, must face house arrest for the next three months to serve out the sentence of the plea deal he made with the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. On May 7, 2015, he gave an official plea of no contest to the charges that had been brought against him – conspiracy to perform medicine without a license as well as tax evasion.
In addition to house arrest, he must also pay $100,000 that will go into a fund dedicated to helping the victims who decided against suing Gonzalez. What makes this story even more interesting is that his wife, Dr. Yessennia Candelaria, had her charges dismissed as part of the agreement. Originally, the state of California was going to revoke her license, but instead, she has been put on probation for seven years. She is allowed to practice medicine, but the Medical Board of California will be watching her every move.
This case first started back in October 2013 when charges were brought against Gonzalez. He was accused of inflicting great bodily injury and committing mayhem. He was said to have left several women disfigured when he worked the Advanced Medspa Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center, located in Rocklin. Gonzalez also had a separate office in Sacramento. Both of these offices are now closed.
Gonzales has trained as an obstetrician and gynecologist, and prosecutors are saying that he misrepresented himself and his credentials, but the biggest hurdle in convicting Gonzales was in the definition of mayhem. His lawyer stated that most cosmetic surgeries leave scars, which all patients should be keenly aware of. According to him, there was no reason that any mayhem charges should be filed against a license surgeon or physician simply because a patient is upset at the result.
Mayhem is also a criminal charge, not a civil one. If a conviction of mayhem was reached, medical malpractice insurance would not cover it. Instead, Gonzalez formally gave up his license to practice medicine in California, though he did offer to fix the patient who he supposedly scarred. Naturally, they were hesitant, but it didn’t matter. Gonzalez could no longer legally practice medicine anyway.
Clearly there’s a debate on whether or not this should have been criminal or civil case. There are still cases pending in civil court. It turns out that Gonzales was not the only one in trouble at Advanced Medspa Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center. His wife, Candelaria, faced felony charges. She was accused of giving anesthesia to her patients for some of the surgeries performed at Advanced Medspa. Additionally, charges of possessing and transporting a controlled substance were brought against her as well as misdemeanor for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Overall, it’s a good day for the community now that these two doctors are no longer practicing medicine to the fullest extent. Gonzalez cannot practice at all while Candelaria can only prescribe certain drugs and is being subjected to drug testing. We’ll see how she does over the next seven years.