BONITA, Calif. (KGTV) — A plastic surgeon is being accused of leaving a patient to suffocate in the operating room for hours while he did consultations with other potential clients to make money.
The stunning allegation was made in a Chula Vista courtroom Monday by San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas.
Darvas was explaining to the court why her office has filed a murder charge against Dr. Carlos Chacon, who had previously been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his patient Megan Espinoza.
Espinoza was a mother of two died who died after she underwent a breast augmentation procedure in 2018 at Chacon’s Divino Plastic Surgery clinic in Bonita.
“The defended essentially doubled down on his practices and prevented other people from calling 911 and allowed Ms. Espinoza to essentially suffocate for a three-hour period before emergency personnel were finally summoned,” Darvas told reporters following Chacon’s arraignment.
Darvas alleges Chacon left Espinoza suffocating in the operating after her heart stopped while he saw four other patients to sell more services and check on others. “We found that to be extremely egregious.”
The DA said Dr. Chacon cut corners to make more money by using an untrained nurse to perform anesthesia on Espinoza. That nurse had been previously charged with involuntary manslaughter for her alleged role in Espinoza's death.
The prosecutor alleged Monday Dr. Chacon told staff to lie to Espinoza's husband when he phoned to check in on her.
The DA accused him of engaging in a “cover-up” and said he lied to a 911 operator when he eventually called three hours after Espezona had lost consciousness.
Darvas said the California Medical Board has filed a motion to have Chacon’s license revoked.
Chacon sat wearing a prisoner’s uniform with his hands shackled while entering a non-guilty plea Monday.
"This should be a civil case. It should not be a criminal case. There's nothing in Dr. Chacon's conduct that rises to the level to be charged with second-degree murder. This is a tragic accident. It's misfortunate and at best it's a negligence case which has already been settled,” said Marc Carlos.
Darvas told the court in 2022 Chacon was accused in two more medical malpractice cases.
“Jump on the money train that’s what they’re doing,” Carlos told reporters noting the same law firm Espinoza’s family used to sue the doctor is bringing the new cases forward.
A judge set Chacon's bail at $500,000 rejecting the district attorney’s request for a $5 million bond. ABC 10News learned Chacon posted bail just before 11:45 p.m. Monday.
He will not be allowed to practice surgery at his office until it is accredited, but Chacon can perform surgeries at facilities with accreditation like hospitals.
The judge ruled he must notify any patients interested in surgery that he is facing a murder charge. He also must hand in his passport and can’t leave California.
Chacon’s office was still taking consultations from new patients Monday morning when ABC 10News reporter Austin Grabish phoned the practice.
The doctor’s Instagram account shows off some of his recent work including liposuction and breast reduction.
His lawyers say he’s performed thousands of surgeries without issue up until Espinoza’s death.