A staff member working as a doctor at a Gardena medical clinic was arrested and booked Thursday for practicing medicine and issuing prescription drugs without a state license--a misdemeanor charge.
Aquilino M. Dizon, a 14-month employee of Tri-City Industrial Medical Group Inc., was arrested after a nearly two-month investigation by the state Department of Consumer Affair’s Board of Medical Quality Assurance, investigators said.
The clinic, which opened in 1977 and has more than 400 industrial clients, treats occupational injuries for employees of the 77th Street, Southeast and Harbor stations of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Carson sheriff’s station, clinic officials said.
Medical board investigator Ray Waller said the Consumer Affairs Department was notified by a staff member who suspected that Dizon was not a qualified physician. At least one doctor at the clinic accused Dizon on Thursday of misdiagnosing patients and over-prescribing medication.
Waller said a warrant was issued for Dizon’s arrest based on findings from the undercover investigation at the clinic. He would not give details about the investigation.
Opal Ware, clinic administrator, said she had worked with Dizon for three years at Temple Medical Center before hiring him at the Tri-City clinic.
Ware said Dizon had a California medical license, a medical school diploma from the Philippines and several letters of recommendation.
Documents Taken by Investigators
Most of the documents were taken by investigators, she said, but she still has photocopies of documents from “UST Faculty of Medicine & Surgery” in the Philippines stating that Dizon had been a student there and had participated in an 11-month clerkship offered by “Santo Tomas University Hospital & its Affiliates” starting in April, 1973.
Another document on Makati Medical Center letterhead dated April 20, 1982, from the Philippines stated that Dizon had completed a five-year general surgical residency at the center.
“All of his documents looked very legitimate,” Ware said. She added that Dizon’s portfolio was very impressive, containing more documents than any of the other physicians on the six-member staff. Ware said she never suspected that Dizon was not licensed and never received any complaints from the patients he treated. Patients would request him, then “sit and wait for him to treat them,” Ware said.
According to Ware, Dizon has prescribed medications, performed minor surgeries and physical examinations, and treated various occupational injuries while at the clinic.
Officials at Temple Medical Center in Los Angeles said Dizon had worked at the clinic about two years ago as a medical assistant but would not give further details about his employment.
Dizon’s wife, Sylvia, said he worked at Temple Medical Center as a medical assistant although he had practiced medicine in the Philippines for six years. Sylvia Dizon said her husband had completed nine years of medical school and has a license to practice medicine in the Philippines.
Sylvia Dizon said she thought that her husband was also working as a medical assistant, rather than physician, at Tri-City. Dizon’s business cards from the clinic read L. Dizon, M.D., Industrial Medicine.
Dizon, who also told investigators during his booking Thursday that he worked as a “medical assistant” for Tri-City, was being held in lieu of $250 bail, sheriff’s deputies said.