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Second Complaint Filed Against Liposuction Doctor

Medicine: Claim says complications followed surgery by Dr. William E. Matory. In the first case, the patient died.


State officials have filed a new set of accusations, including gross negligence and falsification of records, against Dr. William Earle Matory Jr., a plastic surgeon whose medical license was suspended temporarily after the death of a liposuction patient this year.

The latest complaint against Matory was filed Friday and involves a 64-year-old female patient identified only as B.J. Among the accusations, filed by the state attorney general's office on behalf of the Medical Board of California, are that the patient suffered from low blood pressure, bleeding from surgical incisions, fainting spells and blurred vision after Matory performed cosmetic surgery Dec. 16, 1996.

Another woman, Judy Fernandez of La Habra, died in March after 10 hours of cosmetic surgery by Matory, who removed about 20 pounds of fat from her body. The Orange County coroner's office reported that Fernandez, 47, bled to death and had a toxic level of lidocaine, a drug administered intravenously to control pain.

The charges added Friday were filed as a supplement to the Fernandez case, which is set for trial Aug. 6. But Matory's attorney, Lloyd Charton, said a judge has already informed prosecutors that each case will have to be tried separately.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Sanford Feldman said Monday that "Dr. Matory engaged in unprofessional conduct in the treatment of patient B.J." He would not comment further.

The new allegations will be heard by an administrative law judge, who will decide whether the case should be prosecuted, said Candis Cohen, spokeswoman for the Medical Board of California.

The new charges against Matory also state that B.J. was nauseated after the surgery and was vomiting blood described as coffee-colored. In addition, the woman had dark stools and was having trouble swallowing, the complaint stated.

Citing privacy issues, state officials would not give further details about the woman or if she recovered.

According to the complaint, Matory noted in the patient's chart on Dec. 20, 1996, that she was "pleased with result, asymptomatic" and did not exhibit any problems.

Charton, Matory's attorney, questioned the unidentified patient's motive for going to state officials with her allegations, saying that the woman "has jumped on the opportunity bandwagon."

Charton said the woman had four additional cosmetic surgical procedures performed by Matory between January and April this year. The attorney also said that the patient's vomiting of blood and dark stools were caused by an ulcer in her esophagus and not by the cosmetic surgery.

"She was never in a life-threatening situation," Charton said. "The liposuction in her case was very successful, and she was raving about how great she looked after the surgery."

In the second case against him, Matory is charged with repeated negligent acts, incompetence, dishonesty and altering records.

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