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How Dr. Chavis, First California Affirmative Action Medical School attendee, lost his license

By TwoScoopsMcGee   Apr 21, 8:16am   3 links   130 views   3 comments   watch (1)   quote      

Dr. Patrick Chavis, to his admirers, was not just a successful black doctor: He was a symbol of what was right and just about affirmative action.

Admitted to UC Davis Medical School in 1973 under a special minority program later successfully challenged by white applicant Allan Bakke, Chavis made it his mission to return to the area where he grew up, making his home in Compton and his obstetrical practice in Lynwood.

"I went to medical school with the intent of coming back to South-Central," said Chavis, 45. "I could have gotten a home in Palos Verdes, but these are the people I choose to live and work with. They are like my mother and my father."

In glowing media profiles, he came across as a dedicated urban soldier, and affirmative action proponents--including U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and state Sen. Tom Hayden--publicly embraced his example.

Just two weeks ago, Eva Patterson of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights touted Chavis' achievements as a physician over those of Bakke, a Minnesota anesthesiologist. Her implication: Affirmative action had favored the best man.

It turned out to be an unfortunate example. Late this spring, the Medical Board of California accused Chavis of seriously injuring two patients and stashing them at different times in his home, and of abandoning a third woman, groggy from surgery, in his office. Hours later, that patient, Tammaria Cotton, 43, died at a Lynwood hospital. The board suspended his license to practice pending a hearing that may end his career.

In the past several weeks, as the debate simmered over implementation of California's anti-affirmative action initiative, Proposition 209, some conservatives adopted Chavis as a symbol of their own--representing the policy's dangers. "Give me preferences and give me death," read the newsletter of one conservative think tank, Pacific Research Institute. "Affirmative Action Can Be Fatal," declared the headline over Jeff Jacoby's column in the Boston Globe.

Yet the case also has signaled, to some on both sides of the debate over affirmative action, the perils of making issues out of individuals.

"I don't think the argument rises or falls on one--or on a handful--of examples," said Richard Yarborough, director of the Center for African American studies at UCLA. "That is the basis of stereotyping of all kinds, when you take one case and try to explode it into a general rule."

"There is certainly a problem in using single cases," said Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a public policy research organization in Washington. But she contends that affirmative action proponents "can't have it both ways."

"They want to say that [Chavis] should be held up as all that's good and wholesome about affirmative action when it looks like he's doing well, but when he fails, they don't take responsibility for that."

Chavis is not helping to quell the controversy. Even now, he is the first to say his race is relevant. He says he's still a good example of the promise of affirmative action, but also is a victim of racist backlash against outspoken minorities.

Mr. Chavis, whose medical license was revoked five years ago for malpractice, was fatally shot as he returned to his car after buying an ice cream cone in Hawthorne, a suburb of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Investigators theorized that three men had tried to hijack Mr. Chavis's car but fled without it. Mr. Chavis lived in Inglewood, Calif.

In 1973, Mr. Chavis was admitted to the University of California at Davis medical school in a program to increase black enrollment. Allan Bakke, a white applicant who was rejected despite having higher scores than the five black applicants, sued to be admitted. In 1978, the Supreme Court struck down the program, ruling that race could be a factor but not the only factor considered for admission.

After graduation, Dr. Chavis returned to Los Angeles as an obstetrician and gynecologist, to the area where he had grown up. In the mid-1990's, his work won him attention in articles in The New York Times Magazine, in The Nation and on television programs.

In 1996, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called him a ''perfect example'' of how affirmative action worked. Mr. Kennedy and other proponents of affirmative action suggested, at least implicitly, that Dr. Bakke, an anesthesiologist in Rochester, Minn., had achieved less than Dr. Chavis.
The University of California at Davis has no records of what the four blacks admitted with Dr. Chavis are doing, a spokeswoman, Julia Ann Easley, said.
By 1996, Dr. Chavis was using liposuction to help women lose weight after giving birth. He was accused of mistreating eight liposuction patients, one of whom died. In 1998, the Medical Board of California revoked his license for ''gross negligence, incompetence and repeated negligent acts.''

He readily conceded that he would never have been admitted to medical school under the normal standards, but maintained grades of 3.2 to 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

His professional difficulties began in 1993, at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, when he was accused of mishandling a delivery, and the hospital began monitoring him. He sued, charging racism. In a jury trial, he won $1.1 million in damages, but a judge overturned the verdict.

By 1997, he said he had delivered 10,000 children and performed thousands of abortions. About that time, he added liposuction to his practice.

His personal and professional life then took a further downturn. In 1997, The Associated Press found in court records that he had been sued 21 times for malpractice and had settled some suits with no admission of guilt. He declared bankruptcy and went through the second of two divorces.

In 1997, his license was suspended, for not paying child support, but he continued to practice. The medical board used that as one of more than 90 counts in revoking his license the next year.

Methinks the "Carjacking" was BS - he borrowed money from Ice Tea or someshit and was gunned down. That's why they didn't take the car.

21 Suits for malpractice... I don't think that's normal for a doctor... I know about half get sued once in their life, but not 21 times over 10-15 years.

Comments 1-3 of 3     Last »

1   Blurtman   560/560 = 100% civil   Apr 21, 8:27am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

It is acceptable racism to many.

2   Quigley   882/888 = 99% civil   Apr 21, 8:31am  ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike   quote    

So he was a Yuuuge abortionist as well.
What a paragon of his community!

3   Ceffer   865/865 = 100% civil   Apr 21, 9:47am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I remember a prominent school had an affirmative action candidate who was a literal street pimp and drug dealer. They still dragged him through three years behind schedule in between his street appointments. Another was caught cheating so often, they had to let him go, then he sued for discrimination.

Just life in the Great Socialist Paradise political nirvana.

Comments 1-3 of 3     Last »

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