NewsTeam 10 Investigates


La Jolla plastic surgeon reprimanded after failing to have resuscitation equipment

Patient went for laser resurfacing, left office in critical condition
weight loss surgery
Posted at 7:38 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 23:35:07-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) — The Medical Board of California has reprimanded a La Jolla plastic surgeon for failing to have resuscitation equipment at his practice for a patient who went into critical condition.

In a recently published settlement and disciplinary order on its website, the board said Dr. Robert Shumway “committed gross negligence in his care and treatment of Patient A."

The patient had gone to Dr. Shumway for a laser resurfacing procedure in 2019 and was given a series of drugs, including Versed, ketamine, glycopyrrolate, and lidocaine.

Shortly after, she had low oxygen levels, and emergency services were called.

Upon arrival, a different doctor who stepped in to help tried to intubate the patient, but none of the laryngoscope handles in Shumway’s office had working lights, according to the Medical Board. The device is used to examine a patient’s larynx in the throat.

Emergency crews intubated the patient using their own equipment and rushed her to the ER in critical condition where she required “substantial life-saving intervention,” the medical board said.

The patient was eventually discharged from the hospital and placed on antibiotics to manage pneumonia.

The Medical Board said Shumway “failed to have appropriate and/or functioning airway management equipment and/or resuscitation equipment at his facility.”

Doctor’s second run-in with Medical Board

It also took issue with Shumway utilizing a pre-release of liability form that released him from liability for future care provided to the patient.

“No professional should be able to waive liability for his or her professional acts,” said Santa Clara University Bioethicist Lawrence Nelson in an interview with Team 10.

The board found Shumway had three causes for discipline: gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, and general unprofessional conduct.

It’s Shumway’s second run-in with the Medical Board. In 2018, the licensing body publicly reprimanded the surgeon for false and misleading advertising about his board certifications on his website.

As part of the reprimand, the board ordered him to serve 40 hours of community service and do 40 hours of educational courses.

For the 2019 incident, the board has decided Shumway must reimburse the board $20,053.50 in costs for its investigation.

Shumway and his attorney didn’t return Team 10’s emails and phone calls requesting comment.

Court records show Shumway has been sued several times over the years for medical malpractice.