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Medical Board of California Arrests Santa Clarita Resident for Unlicensed Practice of Medicine.

Business/Health Editors & Medical Writers

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2002

The Medical Board of California's Operation Safe Medicine (OSM), in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, served a search warrant on December 19, 2002 at the Santa Clarita residence of an unlicensed person, Todd Cameron Bertrang, for agreeing to perform female circumcisions. The procedure is an extremely painful, traumatizing mutilation of females that leaves them permanently disfigured. He also performs a similar procedure on males. He was charged with violating Business and Professions Code section 2053, a felony, by risking great bodily harm, serious injury or death by practicing medicine without a license. Bertrang was arrested and booked into Santa Clarita Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and will appear in court on January 21, 2003.

The Medical Board of California continues to analyze evidence obtained during the execution of the search warrant. The Board's Chief of Enforcement Dave Thornton said, "The mission of the Medical Board is consumer protection. Stopping the unlicensed practice of medicine in California is a high priority with the Medical Board. We encourage anyone with information regarding additional victims of Todd Bertrang, or any other criminal activity connected to Bertrang, to contact the Medical Board's Cerritos Office at (562) 860-2819."

The case was referred to the Medical Board by a physician from Northern California who received information that Bertrang was performing clitoridectomies on women in Southern California. The FBI, who had received a similar complaint, also was investigating Bertrang. A joint investigation with the FBI resulted in a search warrant being obtained for the Santa Clarita residence, along with an arrest warrant for Bertrang. The investigation has revealed that Bertrang attracted potential patients through Web sites and may have performed various unlicensed procedures that include male and female circumcisions at his residence since 1997. These are procedures that can result in serious injury to patients who are not in a medical setting.

This arrest is the tenth in 2002 by investigators of Operation Safe Medicine, a special unit of the Medical Board composed of trained investigators who seek to protect a significant portion of the population by reducing access to individuals who are unlicensed and a danger to the public when they attempt medical treatment. OSM commenced in January 2001, and works closely with local and federal law enforcement agencies. The staff of investigators target the known areas where the unlicensed practice of medicine flourishes in Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area. The investigators also work other areas of the state as needed and provide training to other Medical Board enforcement staff in how to spot and respond to suspected illegal practices.

OSM is part of the Medical Board's efforts to steer consumers away from unlicensed practitioners, whose treatment of patients has resulted in harm and even death in Southern California. The Board encourages the public to confirm they are receiving healthcare from licensed individuals by calling its Consumer Information Line at (916) 263-2382 or visiting its Web site at www.medbd.ca.gov.

The Medical Board of California is the state agency responsible for licensing and regulating physicians in this state.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 23, 2002
Words:520
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