A Chula Vista woman was sent to jail recently after pleading guilty to committing medical malpractice by performing abortions without a medical license. Bertha Bugarin plead guilty to nine counts of practicing medicine without a license, one felony count of grand theft, and one misdemeanor count of “dispensing dangerous drugs” to her patients at her Chula Vista clinic where she claimed to be a doctor.
The arrest and prosecution of Bugarin occurred after Michael Varga, a Chula Vista Police officer assigned to the department’s Special Investigations Unit, interviewed women about abortions they had received at Clinica Medica Para La Mujer de Hoy, a storefront clinic located on Broadway in Chula Vista that catered to low-income, Spanish-speaking women.
Varga’s investigation led to identifying Bugarin as the leader of an illegal medical facility and abortion clinic. Bugarin, the investigation found, was a layperson who claimed to be the owner and manager of the Chula Vista cash only clinic, as well as five other similar clinics in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Months prior to Varga’s investigation, the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force in Los Angeles investigated the operations of Bugarin’s Los Angeles clinics and seized the medical records of fifty-six women who had received treatment from the clinic in Chula Vista. Nine of the fifty-six records stated that Bugarin had been the one who performed the abortion, even though she did not hold a medical license. In interviews with the nine women, they all stated that Bugarin wore a white lab coat and called herself a doctor throughout the procedure.
Subsequent investigations with the California Medical Board discovered that Bugarin was not a doctor and never held a medical license.
It is simply disgraceful that Bugarin, and others, take advantage of patients seeking medical help and do not disclose that they are illegal and unlicensed to give medical advice or treatment. Bugarin’s story is even more tragic when you consider that she preyed upon San Diego‘s low-income, Spanish-speaking community who did not have health insurance and were desperate enough to seek an abortion from a cash only abortion clinic. Unfortunately, this community is frequently preyed upon by criminals and opportunists who provide illegal or simply poor services to those who do not have any other options or choices.
If you or a loved one has been injured due medical malpractice or in a San Diego injury accident, please contact the San Diego injury lawyers at the Jurewitz Law Group at 888-233-5020 or contact them online here.
If your first language is Spanish or you are more comfortable speaking Spanish, you should know that the Jurewitz Law Group’s staff speaks Spanish fluently and will make sure that you receive top-quality service. If you would like to know more about the Jurewitz Law Group in Spanish, feel free to visit the Spanish language (Espanol) section of our website or contact them online in Spanish here.