Doctor Admits Many Violations, Loses License


A Claremont obstetrician-gynecologist on probation and without medical malpractice insurance has been stripped of his license after he acknowledged to the Medical Board of California that he misled patients, endangered their lives and attempted a second-trimester abortion.

Michael Rosenthal, who began practicing in 1969, is married to Claremont Councilwoman Karen Rosenthal, a former mayor.

He admitted gross negligence and incompetence to the board in an agreement signed Sept. 24, 2001.

In an interview Friday he admitted to poor decisions that he made in part because he was taking Prozac that he prescribed to himself.

Also, he did not fight the charges because he could not afford to pay high lawyer fees, he said.


“I was not in a position to defend myself,” he said. “So I basically rolled over.”

Rosenthal said he retired soon after the latest incidents.

The board accused him of mishandling three abortions in 1999, when he was running his own Upland-based Family Birthing Center serving women with low-risk pregnancies.

He admitted to the board that he misled patients, lied to another physician, failed to reveal an abnormal pap smear result, failed to perform an ultrasound on a patient who had already delivered four babies by caesarean section, and started an abortion procedure on a patient in her second trimester.

At the time, Rosenthal was on probation for two other incidents, one in 1986 and one in 1992. In the latter case, medical board prosecutors said he gambled that a pregnancy would be without incident and didn’t tell his patient that he had lost his privileges in San Antonio.

His privileges were revoked after his insurance company stopped his malpractice coverage in 1992.

On Friday, Rosenthal was most worried that his personal troubles would embarrass his wife.

“The single biggest thing is embarrassing Karen,” he said. “I have resolved this in my own mind a long time ago.... For myself, I just don’t care.”

Karen Rosenthal defended her husband, saying that none of the charges were ever proved in court.

“He is a great doctor. He delivered over 5,000 babies and is very well loved in the community,” she said.