The death of a patient is not something that homicide detectives typically investigate. But after Sharon Carpenter died following a 10-hour liposuction surgery, veteran Det. Joel Price became involved in the case.
The plastic surgeon allegedly acted "so recklessly that he endangered the life of his patient and ultimately contributed to the killing," said Price, who commands the West Valley homicide unit for the Los Angeles Police Department.
On Tuesday, former cosmetic surgeon Ehab Alby Mohamed was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Carpenter's death Aug. 21 2010.
The 46-year-old Mohamed is charged with giving Carpenter a lethal cocktail of lidocane, fentanyl and oxycodone during the procedure at his Encino office, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Mohamed is expected to be arraigned Wednesday at the courthouse in Van Nuys.
Price said he became involved in the case about two weeks after Carpenter's death after paramedics responded to Mohamed's office because he was allegedly performing medical procedures on himself.
"That's what really prompted me to take a hard look," Price told The Times.
Prosecutors allege that Mohamed performed another lengthy liposuction operation on a 77-year-old woman who lost consciousness May 21, 2010. The woman survived but allegedly has suffered ongoing health issues as a result of the operation.
The former surgeon is charged with failing to meet required safety standards for equipment, staffing and emergency resources when he performed the two 2010 surgeries.
Mohamed has been in county jail since July after he was convicted of forgery and burglary in another criminal case that stemmed from an incident in Santa Monica, police said.
In 2010, officials with the Medical Board of California alleged that Mohamed was negligent, saying that on two occasions he apparently misled patients about an affiliation with Harvard University, according to the board's petition to revoke his license.
In one instance, Mohamed allegedly gave a patient a handwritten note with the promise of a $40,000 discount in exchange for the patient’s participation in a “study with Harvard,” according to the petition.
Price said he also informed the medical board as his investigation into Carpenter's death progressed. The statute of limitations against Mohamed would have expired at midnight Tuesday.
"The timing of this filing was critical," said Price, a 33-year LAPD veteran who also serves on the Thousand Oaks City Council. "It had to happen today."