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California Doc Charged In Patient Death During Surgery

Tue, 03/23/2010 - 7:32am

(AP) An Inglewood surgeon has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter after a patient died during a procedure being carried out in a converted home. The 30-year-old patient, whose name was not released, died after Dr. Roberto Bonilla administered anesthetic ahead of a gallbladder and hernia operation, according to the state attorney general's office, which filed a complaint with the Medical Board of California.

Bonilla practiced from a house that served as a medical office.

The patient, who had paid $3,000 for the procedure, went into shock after receiving the sedative and stopped breathing. According to the complaint, Bonilla tried for nearly three hours to resuscitate him by performing CPR and did not call 911.

Deputy District Attorney John Lonergan said prosecutors believe the doctor caused the death in the commission of a lawful act that was done without due caution.

Bonilla's attorney, Mike Khouri, said an investigation showed the patient died from an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. He said he was taken aback by the decision to file an involuntary manslaughter charge.

"The entire situation was investigated by the California Medical Board and the California Medical Board deemed it appropriate to allow Dr. Bonilla to continue to practice medicine," Khouri said.

Bonilla, who entered his plea Friday, is free on $25,000 bail. His next court date is set for April 2.

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