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Medical board suspends doctor faulted in Lap-Band surgery death

August 22, 2013|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • Booking photograph of Dr. Daniel Shin after his 2006 arrest in Torrance assault.
Booking photograph of Dr. Daniel Shin after his 2006 arrest in Torrance… (Torrance Police Department )

The Medical Board of California has suspended the license of an anesthesiologist faulted in the care of a patient who died after weight-loss surgery at a clinic tied to the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign.

The agency placed Dr. Daniel Shin on five years’ probation in August 2012 after accusing him of “gross negligence” in his treatment of Tamara Walter, a supermarket employee from Lawndale who died Dec. 26, 2010, three days after having the Lap-Band device surgically implanted at a clinic in Beverly Hills.

The board said it suspended Shin’s license for failing to complete a training program that was required as part of his probation. The suspension began Aug. 5 and last until Shin “successfully completes the clinical training program,” the medical board said in an order posted on its website. Until that point, Shin “is prohibited from engaging in the practice of medicine,” the medical board said.

Shin could not be reached. Albert J. Garcia, an attorney who has previously represented Shin, declined to comment, saying in an email: “I am no longer representing Dr. Shin.” He said he was unable to contact Shin.

The medical board had faulted Shin for failing to respond to signs of Walter’s worsening condition after the surgery at a facility that is now called New Life Surgery Center. That center recently lost its accreditation and is prohibited from performing many surgeries.

Shin, 48, was on probation with the medical board at the time of Walter’s surgery because of a 2007 misdemeanor assault conviction for threatening a process server with a meat cleaver at his home in Torrance, according to medical board records.

Walter was one of five patients who died after Lap-Band weight-loss surgeries at clinics affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign from 2009 to 2011, according to lawsuits, autopsy reports and other public records.

The 1-800-GET-THIN advertising, which included the catchy jingle "Let your new life begin, call 1-800-GET-THIN," was removed last year after the Food and Drug Administration warned several affiliated surgery centers that the ads failed to include adequate warnings about risks of the surgery.

The Lap-Band is a silicone ring that is surgically implanted around the stomach to discourage overeating. The surgeries are performed under general anesthesia.


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