Skip to main content.

Andrew Rutland

Picture of William Heisel

Low on cash, his reputation shredded by patient complaints about botched plastic surgeries, Dr. Harrell Robinson must have felt he had a guardian angel when Magdalena Annan approached him.

Annan ran the beatific sounding Madre Maria Ines Teresa Health Center at 1523 Broadway Street in Santa Ana, which targeted Southern California immigrants.

Picture of William Heisel

Some physicians cater to the immigrant community out of public service or cultural affinity. Others, like Dr. Harrell Robinson, end up there because they ruined their own reputations with English-speaking patients.

The Southern California cosmetic surgeon shared an Anaheim office with Dr. Andrew Rutland, the doctor who is now accused in the death of Chinese immigrant Ying Chen.

Picture of William Heisel

Even a doctor with dead patients in his past can find startup capital.

When Dr. Andrew Rutland was trying to set up shop in the old "Modern Woman's Clinic" building in Chula Vista, he tapped a friend for a loan: Dr. W. Constantine Mitchell.

According to records from the California Office of Administrative Hearings, where Rutland's case before the medical board is currently being heard, Mitchell loaned Rutland $50,000 to help him start his practice.

Picture of William Heisel

Cash-only clinics in immigrant communities can be revolving doors. One shady provider gets shoved out, and another steps right in.

When Dr. Andrew Rutland was allowed to return to medicine in 2007 after serving five years of probation for Medical Board of California charges related to the deaths of two babies, he was prevented from practicing alone. The Oct. 25, 2007 order by the medical board is clear: "Petitioner is prohibited from engaging in the solo practice of medicine."

Picture of William Heisel

When your child dies because of mistakes made by a doctor, you can sue. Scott and Kathy Broussard did that when Dr. Andrew Rutland twisted their daughter Jillian Broussard's neck so severely that he separated her head from her spine. Most patients either lose in court or settle their cases. If they settle, they go silent. How many times have you called a patient's family to be told, "We can't talk under the terms of the settlement."? The Broussards settled their case, but that didn't stop them from talking.

Picture of William Heisel

The Anaheim obstetrician accused in a patient’s death was part of a community of doctors on the fringe who had escaped the stigma of their pasts by treating immigrants.

Dr. Andrew Rutland was charged by the Medical Board of California in December of negligence after the death of a Chinese immigrant, Ying Chen, at a San Gabriel clinic. Rutland had been trying to give her an abortion, the board said, when he administered a fatal dose of lidocaine, an anesthetic.

Picture of William Heisel

Scott Broussard is a battalion chief with the Costa Mesa Fire Department. He’s used to knocking down doors when there is an emergency and trying to stay steady in the midst of chaos. Kathy Broussard is a pediatric intensive care nurse who has seen children die and children saved from the brink of death. She is now focused on raising her two children.

Picture of William Heisel

The doctor did it. In the bedroom. With an an anesthetic.

The Los Angeles County Coroner spent 51 pages of minute calculations and detailed examinations to come to that simple conclusion on Aug. 24, 2009. Jackson had died from a lethal dose of propofol and other drugs and the death was a homicide.

This was perhaps the most surprising thing about the Michael Jackson case, because coroners are so reluctant to say a physician killed someone.

Picture of William Heisel

Far fewer people would know Dr. Conrad Murray’s name if Michael Jackson had died in a hospital.

Not only would Murray have people with similar training around to corroborate his story, but he would have entered the secretive peer review system.

Doctors have the power to conduct “peer reviews” at hospitals that could lead to a doctor losing his privileges to perform surgeries, see patients and otherwise practice medicine there. In the best case scenario, physicians police their own and take stern – albeit secretive – action.

Picture of William Heisel

It was bad enough for Dr. Conrad Murray to be giving Michael Jackson propofol when he had no training administering anesthetics. His second mistake was using a dangerous drug in an improper setting: a bedroom.

Here was Murray’s surgical suite, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s report:

Pages

Announcements

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Let us support your next ambitious health reporting project through our National Fellowship program. Apply today.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Follow Us

Facebook


Twitter

CHJ Icon
ReportingHealth