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Bonita plastic surgery center accreditation concerns following lawsuits & felony charges

Plastic surgery center accreditation concerns following lawsuits, felony charges
Divino Plastic Surgery
Posted at 4:09 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 22:08:18-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Questions are being raised about the surgical center that's run by a Bonita plastic surgeon who's been charged in a patient's death.

Divino Plastic Surgery is where Dr. Carlos Chacon is still allowed to operate, despite facing three lawsuits and six felony counts, including an involuntary manslaughter charge over a patient's death.

On its website, the center touts its accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

Christian Jagusch, MD, JD, is representing three parties who’ve sued Dr. Chacon, including the family of Megan Espinoza, who died after undergoing a routine breast augmentation. He told ABC 10News, “I believe there's at least some ethical responsibility for a credentialing organization to say, ‘Whoa. Maybe this isn't who we want to validate as [an example of] excellence in healthcare safety, as they so claim.'"

Dr. Chacon and his nurse, Heather Lang, were criminally charged in December but have been allowed to practice medicine since then without notifying patients. There are some limitations like they can only perform surgeries with a licensed anesthesiologist or CRNA present.

“The easiest way to stop Dr. Chacon from operating on people, at least in my view, is to revoke his accreditation because that would prevent him from operating on patients at Divino Plastic Surgery,” he added.

On the Medical Board of California’s website, a letter appears from the AAAHC that’s addressed to the surgical center, explaining how the accreditation was revoked in April but the next month it was reversed in part after the "…committee reviewed new information received from Divino Surgical Center's attorney that included restrictions to practice." The accreditation is also subject to a discretionary survey.

“I think the biggest issue here is that consumers are looking at this website from Dr. Chacon [or] going to the AAAHC or medical board's website which says he's accredited. If you read the AAAHC's website, it talks about excellence in healthcare and safety and all of these things that should make a consumer feel safe, when, in fact that's certainly something that's in question,” Jagusch stated.

ABC 10News asked the AAAHC for an interview, twice. Instead, a spokesperson sent the following statement.

“AAAHC accreditation decisions are made in accordance with the policies and procedures of the applicable accreditation handbook. AAAHC will continue to follow its policies and procedures throughout the accreditation cycle as necessary to evaluate each facility's ongoing commitment to compliance with our standards.”

The attorney for Dr. Chacon told ABC 10News last Friday that his office may send a statement on Monday but ABC 10News has not heard back.

“I'm beside myself as a healthcare provider and malpractice attorney as to how this is allowed to continue,” Jagusch added.

The preliminary hearing in criminal court for both the doctor and the nurse is scheduled for September 2nd.