Local News

Friday, Nov 16 2012 05:12 AM

Police report: Man treated patients out of bedroom without license

BY REBECCA KHEEL Californian staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

A sign in the front of Alberto Gonzalez's living room tells patients they are in "Dr. Gonzalez's Clinic."

Several certificates hanging on the wall in Gonzalez's bedroom are his proof of credentials.

But none of the certificates are medical licenses, according to Bakersfield Police Department reports that first became publicly available Friday in Kern County Superior Court. In fact, when police searched Gonzalez's home, they found no evidence he was licensed to practice medicine in the United States or Mexico, where he claimed to have been licensed.

"Gonzalez then said he was a certified medical doctor from Mexico but could not provide any documentation that supported it," Officer Kraig Guinn wrote in his report.

Gonzalez, 58, was arrested in October after police searched his house. Last week, he was formally charged with assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, practicing medicine without a certificate, possession of a controlled substance for sale, receiving known stolen property, advertising as a doctor without a valid certificate and possession of a controlled substance with no prior conviction.

He is scheduled to be in court Monday.

Between 2010 and 2011, the Medical Board of California refered 41 cases of doctors practicing without a license to district and city attorneys, said Christine Valine, a spokeswoman with the board. Criminal complaints were filed in 23 of those cases. In some cases, those arrested do claim to be licensed in another country, she said. Numbers from 2012 were not available.

The police report that became available Friday details the circumstances leading up to Gonzalez's arrest.

Police were alerted by a patient who believed she had been duped. On Oct. 21, police received a call from Esther Diaz Figueroa. She told police she had gone to see a doctor who claimed to be from Los Angeles. She was worried she was diabetic, according to the police report, and the doctor injected her with four syringes of medicine and charged her $400.

But, for a reason she could not explain, she began to suspect what was supposed to be medicine was actually just water or a saline solution, according to the report.

When police arrived at Gonzalez's home in the 5700 block of Monitor Street, they found 10 people waiting at the front door. A patient named Blanca Valezquez answered the door. She was getting treated for constipation, for which Gonzalez told her to take castor oil, according to the report.

She directed the officers to a bedroom. In the bedroom, officers found several vials of prescription medication and an uncovered trash can with used syringes. Several of the vials were marked "Testosterone," according to the report. Gonzalez told police the testosterone was for "Juan, a trucker," who got three injections over the past month for $25 each, and "Ramone," who got four injections over the past two months.

When police asked Gonzalez where he got his medication, he told them he got most of it from salesmen who came to his home and that he got ampicillin, an antibiotic, from Mercado Latino.

Mercado Latino does not sell prescription medication commercially, Guinn wrote.

Gonzalez told police he had been a doctor in Mexico for 15 to 20 years and that he was "a doctor of natural remedies," according to the report. Gonzalez told police he has lived in Bakersfield for three years and operated the clinic on Sundays for three months. He told police he was arrested once in Los Angeles for "issues involving a clinic," but would not elaborate, according to the report.

Police found two guns in Gonzalez's home, one of which had been reported stolen in Los Angeles County, the report says.

Police also found several vials of blood in a bag in the living room. They were from patients with high blood pressure, Gonzalez told them.

"I asked Gonzalez what he does with the blood in the vials," Detective Lester Riddle wrote in his report, "and he stated he dilutes it with water and dumps it on the grass in the backyard."

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