USC former medical school dean
Carmen A. Puliafito. USC photo

The Medical Board of California has suspended the license of former USC medical school dean Carmen Puliafito, pending a final decision on his fitness to practice medicine.

The medical board opened an inquiry into Puliafito after a Los Angeles Times investigation found that he regularly used methamphetamine and other drugs, including while serving as dean of the Keck School of Medicine, the newspaper reported Monday.

In an order issued by an administrative law judge, the state attorney general’s office, acting on behalf of the medical board, and Puliafito agreed to the suspension as an interim measure that will remain in force until the panel completes its probe and issues a decision, according to The Times.

An attorney for Puliafito, Peter Osinoff, told The Times Monday that his client has not practiced medicine since a July 17 story on his drug use.

“He hasn’t treated patients at all,” Osinoff said. “He has been in treatment.”

Puliafito, a renowned eye surgeon, led the Keck School of Medicine for almost a decade before resigning in 2016. He remained on the Keck faculty and continued to represent the university at public events as recently as this summer.

The Times reported that during his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and addicts who said he used drugs with them. The paper also reported that Puliafito was with a prostitute when she overdosed on drugs at a Pasadena hotel room and had to be rushed to a hospital.

—City News Service

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