State files complaints against Anchorage plastic surgeon

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state Division of Occupational Licensing filed more than 20 accusations against Dr. Steven Nathanson last week, saying his actions during multiple plastic surgeries showed professional incompetence and negligence.

Nathanson still retains his license to practice medicine, though the state is proceeding with a hearing into allegations that include patients ending up in the hospital with ''life-threatening'' conditions.

After more than three years of investigations, the state reported 21 accusations of fault in patient care and four cases of failure to report the settlement of medical malpractice claims to the Alaska State Medical Board.

Nathanson, who specializes in ear, nose and throat disorders, received his medical license in 1977 and had it renewed in 2000. He has performed numerous plastic surgeries in Alaska, including liposuctions, breast augmentations and reductions, and abdominoplasties, also called ''tummy tucks.''

His attorney, Howard Lazar, said Nathanson had not seen the report yet and cannot comment.

Nathanson is accused of not adequately advising his patients who had higher risks of infection and complications from the procedures, not telling them they were poor candidates for the operations, failing to discuss breast implant options, failing to refer patients to doctors who could handle complications and performing procedures when he did not have privileges to do so at certain facilities.

''It probably is the largest set of accusations we've ever filed on any licensee here,'' said Gary Veres, the division's chief investigator.

Nathanson will be able to defend himself against the allegations at a hearing before a state administrative officer who will recommend whether the doctor's license be revoked or suspended, or whether he will be disciplined in any other way. The state medical board, which licenses physicians, will make the final decision.

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