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The Former USC Dean From That Insane Times Investigation Now On Leave, Not Accepting Patients

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Ex-Dean of Keck School of Medicine of USC Carmen A. Puliafito with U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, USC First Lady Niki Nikias and USC President C. L. Max Nikias. (Photo via Facebook)
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Anthony Puliafito, a renowned ophthalmologist who led USC's Keck School of Medicine for almost a decade, is now put on leave and no longer seeing patients after the L.A. Times published Monday an article that alleged a list of improper conduct, including drug use and lying about the overdose of an acquaintance, reports the Times.

Puliafito had resigned from his $1.1 million a year post in 2016, but stayed on the Keck faculty and continued to represent the school at public functions.

"The university is following all proper procedures to review his status in patient care. He is currently on leave from his roles at USC, including seeing patients," read a USC statement. It added, "If the assertions reported in the July 17 Los Angeles Times story are true, we hope that Carmen receives care and treatment that will lead him to a full recovery."

The Monday article reported a number of allegations. It said that, while serving as dean, Puliafito had associated with a group of drug dealers who claim that he'd used methamphetamine and other drugs with them. The Times said that it had reviewed a number of images supporting the claims, including a video in which Puliafito—while wearing a tuxedo—reveals an orange pill on his tongue. He swallows it in front of the camera and says "Thought I’d take an ecstasy before the ball.”

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It's also reported that, three weeks before his resignation, a female acquaintance—Sarah Warren—had overdosed in his presence at a Pasadena hotel. He reportedly told a dispatcher that “My girlfriend here had a bunch of drinks and she’s sleeping,” and said she'd only had alcohol when the dispatcher asked if the woman had taken anything else. Warren, who recovered from the overdose, told the Times that she'd met Puliafito while working as a prostitute in 2015.

On Tuesday, a day after the report was published, the university told the Times that Puliafito was placed on leave and was no longer accepting patients. One of the Times reporters who'd worked on the story tweeted Tuesday two images from the Keck faculty page; they suggest Puliafito stopped receiving patients starting on Monday:

The initial Times report also noted that Pasadena police, who responded to the overdose, did not write a report on the incident; they did so only after the paper had made repeated requests to see the report. No arrests were made at the scene, and Warren told the Times that she was never interviewed by authorities. A Pasadena city government spokesperson told the Times that a responding offer has been disciplined, but declined to say how. "I know there is some research going on, but nothing is out yet," Lieutenant Pete Hettema said when LAist requested a statement from the department. "We're aware of the article. And people in the organization are looking into it."