State suspends former dean’s medical license

Photo courtesy of USC

Former Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen Puliafito had his license suspended by the Medical Board of California, according to an article published by the Los Angeles Times Monday. A final decision on Puliafito’s fitness to practice medicine is still pending.

The medical board began investigating Puliafito after the Times reported that he had engaged in drug use, kept company with criminals and partied on campus prior to his resignation in March 2016.

Following the initial report, USC suspended Puliafito from seeing patients and barred him from campus and all USC-affiliated activities. The University also launched an independent investigation into the incident by hiring outside law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

An administrative law judge issued the suspension order as a temporary measure until the medical board completes its probe and reaches a decision, according to the Times story. Puliafito and the state attorney general’s office, acting on behalf of the medical board, both agreed to the suspension.

If the medical board moves to discipline Puliafito, his license could either be revoked or reactivated with certain restrictions, such as requiring him to undergo drug and alcohol testing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However, the agency conducting the investigation on behalf of the medical board has the authority to refer any evidence  of criminal conduct it finds to local prosecutors, meaning Puliafito could face more punishment than just a licensing penalty.