Andrew Rutland: California doctor accused in repeated patient deaths surrenders license

Published on
January 25, 2011

One year after Dr. Andrew Rutland was accused of killing a woman while trying to perform an abortion, the troubled doctor with a long history of hurting patients has agreed to give up his license.

The Medical Board of California just posted documents online dated January 20 that show how Rutland has voluntarily surrendered his license. The decision will be made effective next month.

I started reporting on Rutland while at The Orange County Registerin 2001 and co-authored a series of stories, "Doctors without Discipline," published in April 2002. In the series, Rutland was the poster child for how the Medical Board of California was leaving patients unprotected. Despite repeated lawsuits frompatients alleging unnecessary surgeries, injuries and deaths and repeated complaints to the medical board about the same, Rutland continued to practice. The board did launch investigations that only resulted in him taking a few classes.

Then we wrote about what Rutland had done to the infant Jillian Broussard. He had used forceps to muscle her out during a difficult delivery, severing her spinal cord in the process. The Broussards sued and complained to the medical board. Rutland had to account for what he did in court, but the medical board investigation into the case languished.

The stories forced the board to speed up the investigation, and, in 2002, the board finally suspended his license, prompting him to surrender his license entirely. This was, unfortunately, too late to save a second baby who was injured by Rutland. At least that child lived.

Five years later, when Rutland petitioned to have his license reinstated, the board, shockingly,gave him his license back.

It took only two years for Rutland to get himself in trouble again. On Christmas Eve 2009, the board filed an accusation against Rutland saying that a 30-year-old Chinese immigrant had died after Rutland gave her the wrong dose of anesthesia in an unlicensed office. Rutland has been allowed to practice medicine, with some restrictions, for the entire past year. Why he has chosen now to give up his license is a mystery. The board documents say only that he agrees that he did everything the board says he did, with one notable exception: committing homicide.

Remember, though, Rutland has been here before. He surrendered his license only to get it back just five years later. In case anyone is interested in holding the board accountable for that little administrative slip by calling them and asking them to justify their decision, here is the list of board members who were on the board in 2007 when Rutland's license was reinstated:

Barbara Yaroslavsky

Frank V. Zerunyan

Hedy Chang

John Chin

Shelton Duruisseau

Gary Gitnick

Reginald Low

Mary Lynn Moran

Janet Salomonson

Gerrie Schipske

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The Shadow Practice, Part 1: Disciplined doctor found an exile community in immigrant health care

Patients' trail of pain: List of lawsuits against Dr. Rutland far exceeds the norm, and the litigation tells a sad tale

Doctor appointed as medical board supervisor had been disciplined in New York, California

The Shadow Practice, Part 8: How one California clinic became a magnet for bad medicine

The Shadow Practice, Part 3: Immigrant clinic had deep roots in deception

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The Shadow Practice Part 4: Doc begs patients for loans