Former USC Medical School Dean Used Drugs While Employed There But Should Still Be Able to Practice Medicine, His Attorney Argues

Dr. Carmen Puliafito, USC's former medical school dean, was found to be using drugs while employed at the university. The attorney general's office has argued he should lose his license to practice but his attorney said at a state medical board meeting on May 30, 2018, that he is in recovery and should still be allowed to practice. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Dr. Carmen Puliafito, USC's former medical school dean, was found to be using drugs while employed at the university. The attorney general's office has argued he should lose his license to practice but his attorney said at a state medical board meeting on May 30, 2018, that he is in recovery and should still be allowed to practice. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

An attorney representing former USC medical school dean Carmen Puliafito acknowledged at a state medical board hearing Wednesday that the physician used hard drugs while employed by the university, but that the doctor has been in recovery for months and should be allowed to practice medicine.

The hearing marked the first time Puliafito’s version of events has been aired publicly since The Times detailed his double life of using drugs and partying with criminals and prostitutes, causing upheaval at USC and prompting the medical board to investigate the Harvard-trained ophthalmologist.

Attorney Peter Osinoff also argued that the 67-year-old physician suffers from a mental illness that makes him brilliant and leaves him with “immense energy,” but also instills an “ugly side” in Puliafito that drove him to be infatuated with a young prostitute. That woman, Sarah Warren, introduced the doctor to “street drugs” and ultimately caused his downfall, Osinoff said.

Osinoff insisted at the hearing that Puliafito was “addicted” to his former companion “and to a lesser degree the drugs,” but that the former dean has since been able to manage his diagnosed bipolar disorder.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.