LA Times details alleged drug use of former USC Keck medical school dean

Carmen Puliafito, MD, an ophthalmologist and former dean of Los Angeles-based Keck School of Medicine of USC, allegedly used illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and heroin during his tenure, according to an investigative report from the Los Angeles Times.

Videos and photos from 2015 and 2016 obtained by the newspaper show Dr. Puliafito using drugs in a manner law enforcement officials said was consistent with meth and heroin use, according to the report. Numerous sources told the LA Times they regularly partied with Dr. Puliafito.

Sarah Warren, an escort who said she frequently spent time with Dr. Puliafito, overdosed in his presence at a hotel in Pasadena, Calif., in March 2016, according to the report. The LA Times investigation began when a witness, who asked to remain anonymous, brought concerns to the newspaper regarding the police's handling of the overdose. The same witness spoke with USC President C.L. Max Nikias and filed a complaint through the city website about the incident before approaching the LA Times.

The LA Times found no police report was filed for the overdose at the time of the incident. A report was filed after the newspaper inquired about the case, according to the LA Times.  

Dr. Puliafito does not have a criminal record, according to the report. Instead, he is a renowned physician and is credited with recruiting more than 70 professors to the medical school and raising significant research funding. Dr. Puliafito resigned as dean of the medical school in 2016 to pursue an opportunity with a biotech company.

USC Keck provided the following statement via email:

"The university is not at liberty to discuss personnel matters, which by law are confidential.

However, we can confirm that following Carmen Puliafito's resignation as dean of the medical school in March 2016, he was on sabbatical from his faculty position. The university is following all proper procedures to review his status in patient care.

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."  


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