Wednesday, May 4, 2016
C.A. Affirms Ex-Surgeon’s Manslaughter Conviction
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a former Encino cosmetic surgeon whose 61-year-old patient died during a liposuction operation that lasted more than 11 hours.
Div. One rejected claims by Ehab Aly Mohamed that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Jesic erred in denying the defense request for accomplice-testimony instructions.
Justice Elwood H. Lui agreed with prosecutors that Mohamed’s office assistant, whom he called “Nurse Judy” and allowed to assist in surgery despite her lack of a nursing license, was not an accomplice as a matter of law. Even if she was, the justice added, the lack of instructions was harmless because her testimony was corroborated by other evidence that was “extensive and overwhelming.”
A jury that deliberated less than two hours found Mohamed guilty of the felony charge stemming from the August 2010 death of Sharon Carpenter. Witnesses said the woman — who had paid $100,000 for the surgery — was given a lethal combination of drugs during the operation in Mohamed’s Encino office.
Office assistant Judy Evans called 911 after Carpenter became unresponsive, and she was pronounced dead less than 12 hours after the surgery began. Prosecution experts said Mohamed committed numerous violations of state regulations and professional standards, including failing to properly monitor the amount of fluid removed from the patient, performing extensive liposuction outside of a hospital, attempting to monitor the patient’s vital signs himself, orally administering opioids during surgery, and failing to stop the surgery despite the obvious deterioration in the patient’s condition.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, he was convicted of a felony count of elder or dependent-adult abuse involving 77-year-old Zackie Handy.
Jesic sentenced him to the maximum five years in prison.
Lui, writing for the Court of Appeal, said Evans’ administration of fentanyl that was personally prescribed for her did not make her an accomplice. “[A]ppellant’s culpability for Carpenter’s death was not predicated simply on the single instance of allowing his office assistant to administer a fentanyl patch to his patient, but on his multiple flagrant deviations from reasonable standards of medical care which amounted to criminal negligence,” the jurist wrote.
Besides, Lui wrote, Mohamed admitted in his testimony that he, not Evans, made all of the decisions regarding Carpenter’s care during the procedure. In addition, Mohammed was the licensed professional responsible for monitoring the patient’s condition and “for knowing and following the law as it applied to the liposuction procedures he was performing in his non-accredited facility.”
The justice went on to say that Mohamed himself supplied any corroboration that would have been required if Evans were an accomplice, by admitting that he performed the surgery, did not have monitoring or emergency equipment available, and was unaware that such equipment was required by regulations.
Lui also cited testimony from a coroner’s investigator regarding the lack of basic equipment in the room where the surgery was performed and from an Encino Hospital nursing supervisor regarding Mohamed’s “frantic attempt to obtain basic medical supplies shortly before Carpenter died.”
Attorneys on appeal were James M. Crawford, by appointment, for the defendant and Deputy Attorney General Steven E. Mercer for the prosecution.
The case is People v. Mohamed, B262627.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company