LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The medical license of former USC medical school dean Carmen Puliafito has been revoked for violations including illegal drug use and writing prescriptions for a prostitute who was not a patient, the Medical Board of California announced today.
The decision by administrative law judge Jill Schlichtmann does not go into effect for 30 days and Puliafito has the option to appeal.
During the hearing, the Harvard-trained ophthalmologist and his attorney said he suffered from bipolar disorder and a “hypomanic” state that poisoned his judgment and skewed his understanding of how his behavior would be viewed by others, the Los Angeles Times reported.
They argued that Puliafito has been in recovery about a year and should be allowed to practice medicine under supervision, according to The Times.
Puliafito “has made some important strides toward his rehabilitation and he hopes to continue to the practice of medicine,” Schlichtmann wrote. “However, the evidence did not establish that his rehabilitation has progressed to the point that would justify allowing his continued licensure, even on a restricted basis.
“Protection of the public warrants revocation of respondent's certificate due to his unprofessional conduct.”
Schlichtmann also wrote that Puliafito's testimony “lacked complete candor, raising ongoing concerns about his honesty and his rehabilitation.”
The decision comes a year after The Times detailed Puliafito's drug use and partying, prompting the state's investigation and its accusation that the former dean used methamphetamine and heroin, smoked methamphetamine within hours of seeing patients and provided drugs to criminals and addicts.
Schlichtmann said the evidence did not rise to “a clear and convincing” level that Puliafito used drugs the same day he practiced medicine. During the proceeding, Puliafito denied supplying street drugs.
Puliafito resigned as dean in 2016 but remained on the medical school faculty and continued to accept new patients. He was fired by the school last August the wake of The Times report. The Times also reported that a 21-year-old prostitute overdosed while taking drugs with Puliafito at a Pasadena hotel.
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