Investigators Seek More Victims After Physician Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

Southern California doctor allegedly failed to address surgical complications which led to patient’s death.

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Physician Edwin Hyun-Kyu Choi, of Arcadia, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient.  Investigators are asking any other victims or individuals with additional information to come forward.

The charge against Choi is the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation following the death of a patient at Choi’s Celine Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, in Buena Park.

Investigators from the Division’s Health Quality Investigations Unit (HQIU) Tustin Field Office found that in September of 2012, Choi performed abdominal liposuction on a female patient, but allegedly failed to address complications that arose from the surgery which resulted in the patient’s death.

An unlicensed woman assisted Choi during the liposuction.  The unlicensed woman allegedly acted as the anesthetist during the procedure and also cared for the patient the following day.

The day after the surgery, the patient experienced pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath and she returned to Choi’s clinic.

Rather than referring the patient to an emergency room or calling for an ambulance, Choi allegedly kept the patient at the clinic for 19 hours.  During that time, lab work was completed which showed the patient had sepsis and acute renal failure.  An employee eventually drove the patient to a hospital where she died from septic shock.

Choi appeared in Orange County Superior Court on October 27, 2015, to face one felony count of involuntary manslaughter.  During the arraignment, the judge denied the Medical Board of California’s request for an order to restrict or suspend Choi’s ability to practice as a medical doctor during the duration of the criminal case.  Choi will be in court again on February 26, 2016.

Earlier this year, Choi was charged with two misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine in Los Angeles County.  An investigation conducted by HQIU’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit found that Choi had allowed a registered nurse to offer Botox, laser hair removal and other medical procedures without his supervision at Eastern Beauty Medical Spa in San Gabriel.

That story can be read here.

In that case, Choi was ordered to complete community service as part of the court’s deferred entry of judgment program.

In October 2015, the Medical Board of California filed an Accusation against Choi charging him with gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, incompetence, aiding and abetting unlicensed activity and failing to maintain adequate and accurate records.  The Medical Board of California is seeking to obtain an Interim Suspension Order to restrict Choi’s license.

A copy of the Medical Board Accusation can be read here.

More possible victims in Choi’s case are being sought.  Complaints against Choi can be filed at http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Consumers/Complaints/.

Anyone with additional information about Choi can contact the Medical Board.

Consumers can file complaints against all Department of Consumer Affairs’ licensees at http://www.dca.ca.gov/consumer/complaints.shtml.

The Orange County District Attorney’s press release can be read here.