State Strips Ex-USC Medical School Dean of License, Citing ‘Appalling Lack of Judgment’

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)

The state agency that regulates physicians on Friday ordered USC’s former medical school dean stripped of his license to practice medicine, citing “an appalling lack of judgment” in his use of drugs and association with a circle of addicts and criminals while leading the major institution.

The Medical Board of California announced that it was adopting the findings of an administrative law judge who heard days of testimony this spring from Dr. Carmen Puliafito and other witnesses. The decision does not go into effect for 30 days, and Puliafito has the option to appeal. His attorney, Peter Osinoff, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

During the hearing, the Harvard-trained ophthalmologist and his attorney said he suffered from bipolar disorder and a “hypomanic” state that poisoned his judgment and skewed his understanding of how his behavior would be viewed by others. They argued that Puliafito has been in recovery about a year and should be allowed to practice medicine under supervision.

But the administrative law judge, Jill Schlichtmann, rejected that argument. The judge said that while Puliafito had “made some important strides … the evidence did not establish that his rehabilitation has progressed to the point that would justify allowing his continued licensure, even on a restricted basis.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.