SACRAMENTO, CA - A Rocklin cosmetic surgeon charged with maliciously disfiguring 15 patients is trying to overturn the emergency suspension of his medical license.

Dr. Efrain Gonzalez has filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court challenging last month's interim suspension order by the Medical Board of California.

Among Gonzalez' claims isthe Medical Board bowed to public pressure generated by the media and orchestrated by personal injury attorneys representing patients allegedly harmed by him.

In the lawsuit, Gonzalez claims the interim suspension order was inappropriate because the Medical Board could not show that allowing him to continue practicing medicine would endanger the public because no alleged victims have been identified since last August.

In a criminal complaint filed April 19, the Placer County district attorney charged Gonzalez with 15felony counts of mayhem and 16 felony counts ofgrand theft.

The husband of one of the patients identified by her initials in the complaint reacted toGonzalez' effort to have his license reinstated.

"I'm not surprised. The man is an egomaniac," the husband said.

The husband refuted Gonzalez' claim that patients had been encouraged to contact the media.

"It was never suggested to us that we should make public statements. Anything my wife said to the press was of her own volition," he said.

Medical Board spokeswoman Cassandra Hockenson said she could not comment directly on the lawsuit, but insisted an interim suspension order is not granted lightly.

"A preponderance of the evidence (against a doctor)is a heavy burden to meet," Hockenson said.

Gonzalez' wife, Yessennia Candelaria, is charged with seven felony counts of mayhem and eight felony counts of grand theft.

Both also face multiple charges of conspiracy and Candelaria faces four drug-related charges.

The couple is scheduled to appear in court in Roseville Wednesday for continued proceedings.

by George Warren,

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