Female Reconstructive Surgery

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Once upon a time, several years ago and before Vicki Hufnagel had her license revoked in California, there was a woman living in Colorado (me) who was desperately seeking information on alternatives to hysterectomy. In my quest for information, one of the many books I purchased was No More Hysterectomies. Written by a certain Dr. Vicki Hufnagel (c. 1989) who was practicing medicine, at the time, in Los Angeles. Beverly Hills to be precise. (Land of the rich and beautiful people who have all the best doctors at their fingertips...) There were no other books that detailed or offered an alternative surgical solution to the hysterectomy treatment option at that time.

I was amazed. The book seemed like a godsend. This woman was incredible. She could "do it all" and then some and what's more, she helped author the informed consent laws on hysterectomy for the state of California. This woman was truly remarkable. Could I really bypass a hysterectomy this easily? Why weren't more doctors offering this as an alternative solution? Perhaps it requires special surgical skill? I didn't know the answers to those questions but I was determined to find out. I called Dr. Hufnagel's office and spoke, at length, to a staffperson. She, rather easily, convinced me that FRS surgery with Dr. Hufnagel would be the best decision I ever made. So, I scheduled an appointment -- for surgery.

The plan was simple. I was to fly to California and, in her office, review information and videos on the procedure. Then, I would sign all of the necessary paperwork, pay the bill, and undergo surgery. I would return home a "new woman" within a matter of days. There wasn't even a preliminary check-up required as that would all be taken care of upon my arrival. It sounded too good to be true. I was ecstatic.

At this juncture, I told my husband all about my plans as I knew we would need to make arrangements for additional care of our three children during my absence. He was quite taken aback. Speechless is probably the best way to describe his reaction. Then, he read her book. Then, he started asking questions. Questions like, why is she the only doctor in the world to offer this? Something didn't seem quite right to him and I must admit that I had many of the same questions but was simply so thrilled to find an alternative solution to hysterectomy that I deliberately shoved all of those questions out of my mind. At his questioning, however, I decided to at least go online and check her medical record. See what kind of history she had, what schools she had attended, whether or not there were any complaints or lawsuits registered against her.


Licensing Update

In November 2001, the California Medical Board once again began reviewing Ms. Hufnagel's activities. What's next? Criminal charges? Stay tuned....

In summer 2001, the Hawaii medical board FINALLY began investigating complaints recently filed. This medical board moves about as slowly as the lava does...heaven only knows when we'll actually learn when/if they decide to move forward on disciplinary licensure action...

On September 21, 1999, the California Medical Board fined V. Georges Hufnagel the amount of $500 for using the prefix "Dr." and the initials "M.D." on the internet without having a valid license.

What I found was curious. The Medical Board of California had identified her physician/license status as "decision stayed." What decision? What did this mean? Did she have a license or not? I didn't know. But, I wanted to find out. I called the Medical Board of California and was told that they could not disclose any information over the telephone. "But I have surgery scheduled!" I whined. "Is there anything at all you can tell me?"

The person on the other end of the line hesitated. "I'm not supposed to do this. You didn't hear it from me. Her license is being revoked. Run, don't walk. That's all I will say."

I was stunned. I didn't know what any of it meant. What should I do? She still has her license. If whatever she was doing was so bad surely they would have at least suspended it or something, wouldn't they? Surely they wouldn't allow her to continue performing surgery on unsuspecting women if what she was doing was so damn awful that they were revoking her license? (I've since learned that the answer to this question is, yes, they would. It's called "due process" -- while the case is under review or moving through the court system, the physician does have the right to continue practicing medicine.)

After much discussion with my husband, I decided to call Dr. Hufnagel's office and ask to speak directly with her. I would reassure her that my surgery was still scheduled and that I had every intention of keeping that appointment, but that I simply needed to hear from her what, exactly, was going on in California with her license. It sounded like a good plan.

So, I dialed the number. At first, the staffperson on the other end insisted that Dr. Hufnagel was too busy to speak with me.

Huh? Too busy? "But I'm scheduled for surgery with her. What do you mean she's too busy to speak to me? I've never even met this woman and yet I've, on faith, scheduled surgery with her but she's too busy to speak to me?"

The answer was yes. She insisted that Dr. Hufnagel was simply too busy and that all of my questions would be answered once I arrived in California for my appointment.

"In that case, I will have to cancel the appointment. I am not flying all the way to California for surgery with a doctor that won't even answer my questions or speak to me beforehand."

She put me on hold. The next person that picked up the line was Dr. Hufnagel. "I understand you have some questions?"

I thanked her for taking the time to speak with me as my comfort zone needed reassurance from the physician who would be doing the surgery. She told me that all of my questions would be answered when I arrived and that I would be a "new woman." Then, I asked her my question.

"Dr. Hufnagel, I do have surgery scheduled and do intend to keep that appointment, but I was checking on your license with the medical board and was told that your license is being revoked. Can you tell me what that is all about? I mean, it would just help me to understand what the problem is and make me feel better if I could hear from you what's going on exactly."

Anyone who has gone to Dr. Hufnagel's online forum and read her infamous posts will identify with what happened next.

She became, hmmmm, what's the polite way to write this? Unglued. Ranting and raving and screaming and yelling and, well, basically, incoherent, unintelligible negative commentary spewed from her voicebox with such venom that it was all I could do to continue holding the phone to listen to it all. After a few minutes of not being able to get a word in edgewise, I quietly hung up.

This was the doctor that I was actually going to let cut me open. Without ever meeting her first. What in the world was I thinking? Just how desperate had I become? I didn't bother canceling my surgical date. I think you can understand why I wouldn't want to call her back. I simply let it slip away. I didn't know what was going on with Dr. Hufnagel and the medical board in California, but I did know that it was not enhancing her ability to communicate professionally with her patients. How was it enhancing/hindering her ability to perform surgery competently? I didn't know and I didn't want to find out.

It has been many years since this incident and it has taken me some time to unravel it all. But, ultimately, this experience taught me more lessons about medicine and doctors than you could ever imagine. It gave new meaning to the phrase "Trust no one."

So what is FRS anyway? I don't have a decent definition so this is the best I can do. Think of Female Reconstructive Surgery like this:

Female Reconstructive Surgery

There is no problem too great or too small that cannot be handled by Vicki Hufnagel from the hospital facility where she performs surgery in Mexico. (Her license was revoked in California and New York. She has a license in Hawaii but doesn't seem to do surgery there. I wonder why not? Perhaps it's because she doesn't have any hospital admitting privileges?) Got fibroids? Go to Vicki. Got endometriosis? Vicki can take care of it like no other doctor. How about adenomyosis? She's the only doctor in the world that can treat this problem! Need that bladder resuspended? She can help you out with her miracle surgery and while she's in there she'll drain a cyst, remove a fibroid, laser out some endo, repair the fallopian tubes, and reshape your labia while communicating to the surgical assistants there in Mexico who only write up post-operative reports and medical charts in Spanish. She will do it all and reconstruct your entire female genitalia and reproductive system in a single surgery. Need a post operative report written in English for you to take home to your doctor in the States? I'm sorry. Didn't you know? Vicki doesn't write post operative reports these days. I suppose you could ask for a copy of the surgical video instead. It's just as good, isn't it?

(Note: If you believe all of this, I have some swamp land that I'd like to sell you...)

The following table is an information map that was created using the court documents that are part of the public records for Ms. Hufnagel's case in the state of California. Yes, there were real victims. People. Women who trusted her just like I did -- and then some. While Ms. Hufnagel states repeatedly that the male patriarchal medical world was disconcerted over her constant attacks regarding unnecessary hysterectomy surgery in the United States and would do anything to silence her, one only need look at the Medical Negligence Documented column below to begin questioning the veracity of her disdainful protestations.

While I may agree with Ms. Hufnagel's assessment that there is a very real patriarchal medical world that has openly and shamelessly put a woman's uterus on the auction block of medicine without making any attempts whatsoever to research alternative solutions (to hysterectomy) that are more reasonable, I do not necessarily agree that she was a victim of "speaking out" against her peers. I've learned, over time, that many, many doctors speak out and seek out alternative solutions for their patients. She is not God. She is not a deity to be worshipped for her medical expertise. She is a human. And as such, prone to error just like the rest of us.

For details on California's proceedings in this matter, scroll to the lower half of this page.

Date(s) Recorded
Medical Negligence Documented
Performed Procedure(s) Not Documented on Medical Records
Did Not Perform Procedures as Documented on Medical Records

Billed Insurance

Billed for Procedures Performed by Another Physician
Medical Documentation Not Consistent with Surgical Video
Joan T.
Rama H.
Florence C.
Marsha C.*
Jolina C.*
Jan L.
Karen G.*
Deborah S.
Marsha W.
Isabell M.
Alicia G.
Christine S.
Debra S.

Site Name/Author
What You'll Find
www.docboard.org/ca/df/casearch.htm California Medical Board Licensure search screen. Enter "Hufnagel" for the last name and "V" for the first name to pull up Vicki Hufnagel's online record.
New York Medical Board Licensure revocation information from the state of New York. The Hearing Committee revoked Vicki's license in New York on 2/17/98.
State of New York Department of Health
Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., M.P.H.
Press release detailing license revocation in New York for Vicki Hufnagel.
Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Inspector General
Federal Register 9/21/99; Volume 64, Number 182
Program Exclusions valid as of 8/99. When an exclusion is imposed, no program payment is made to anyone for any items or services (other than an emergency item or service not provided in a hospital emergency room) furnished, ordered or prescribed by an excluded party under the Medicare, Medicaid, and all Federal Health Care programs. Scroll down to find Vicki Hufnagel in this list.
D-3613 California Medical Board

February 26, 1987
California Medical Board's original complaint and filing of accusation with the court against Vicki Hufnagel.

33 pages scanned and compressed into an Adobe Acrobat Reader file. This is a slow loading file as it is 33 pages scanned in as images. Please be patient as there simply wasn't a text file available for scanning. (If you're a cyber genius and know how to make this download go faster, please email me!)

L-39699 California Medical Board March 6, 1989
Notice of Non-Adoption of Proposed Decision.
Statement of Decision Division of Medical Quality
Board of Medical Quality Assurance
Department of Consumer Affairs
State of California
August 14, 1989
Medical Board Decision following public hearing reviewing D-3613 and L-39699. This final decision by the California Medical Board was ultimately stayed by the Superior Court of the State of California
Statement of Decision Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles

July 23, 1996
Case No. C 730 624
Statement of Decision

Superior Court Decision Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles (California Supreme Court) September 3, 1996
Case No. C 730 624
Judgment denying petition for writ of mandate.
United States Supreme Court
Legal Information Institute
May 26, 1998 Orders in Pending Cases
Section: CERTIORARI DENIED 97-1586
Health Fraud List Full Canvas Jacket: Unhinged Lunatic Rant of the Week
The Millennium Project

"This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool."

Hypatia Publishing and drhufnagel.com are both listed.

Medical Misconceptions and Deceptions
June 2000
Tim Gorski, M.D.

Delicensed Physician Practises on the Internet

(click on the link to this story or scroll down to find it)

www.w-i-n.com/2hyste~1.htm Women's International Network
Alternative Healthcare Solutions
Sales pitch/testimonial for books written by V. Hufnagel and John Lee.
Sheldon Marketing Testimonial of Vicki Hufnagel's book to sell progesterone cream.
www.drhufnagel.com/ Vicki Hufnagel Everything you ever wanted to know about Vicki Hufnagel and Female Reconstructive Surgery.
www.nomorehysterectomies.com/ Vicki Hufnagel Why buy her book when you can read a lot of it online?
Dr. Gary Null
Seven Stories Press
The Woman's Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: The New Healing Techniques of 100 Leading Alternative Practitioners
Introduction by Vicki Hufnagel, M.D.
Handance Marci Javril, holistic healer and therapist, created a protocol for scar softening and Post-Surgical Massage Therapy through hundreds of case studies during her affiliation with V Hufnagel.
www.drhufnagel.com/rama1.html V Hufnagel Slanderous page detailing V Hufnagel's side of the story with Rama Haggerty -- a former patient who sued her and lost in civil court but who is listed in table of victims above. Even though she lost her civil case, the California Medical Board still listed her as a victim as they proceeded with building their case against V Hufnagel with the evidence available to them. UPDATE: This page is no longer available online. Email me if you want to read it.
www.drhufnagel.com/library.html V Hufnagel Links to the books V Hufnagel is currently writing online. Including "Ivory Towers" and "La La Land." Interesting view of the world Ms. Hufnagel has. UPDATE: This page is no longer available online. Email me if you want to read it.
V Hufnagel V Hufnagel dishing the dirt on Dr. Bruce McLucas and Dr. Judith Reichman -- both from UCLA. Today, Dr. Reichman frequently appears on NBC's Today show discussing current gynecology topics and has written several books herself. UPDATE: This page is no longer available online. Email me if you want to read it.
V Hufnagel No More Menopause -- early writings of a book that was to be published early next year. Will publication of this book be postponed due to a purported fire at V Hufnagel's prior home in Los Angeles? A fire that V Hufnagel has gone online and blamed her ex-employees, her ex-husband, and even ACOG as potentially having "...destroyed her life work...". I was also wondering if there is a Guinness record of conspiracy theories... UPDATE: This page is no longer available online. Email me if you want to read it.
Karen Krupka
Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon
Attorney seeking information on V Hufnagel's claims of participation in passage of informed consent laws in New York. UPDATE: This page is no longer available online.
Dr. Shoshana Margolin
The International Academy of Health Sciences of New York's listing of board members -- including V Hufnagel.
www.drdeljuncojr.com/ Dr. Tirso del Junco, Jr.

According to his website, this physician trained with Vicki Hufnagel. Now practicing FAS -- Female Alternative Surgery -- at his Institute in Los Angeles. However, this physician's office location in Glendale, California currently has the following business corporation registered to it with the California Secretary of State:

Corporation Number: C1991806

Incorporated 10/96 -- one month after Vicki's license was revoked -- and still active as a business in California today. No business with the name of "Female Alternative Surgery" displays during searches in the corporation database available online from the California Secretary of State.

Here is the sequence of events that occurred in Vicki's case and also a rough outline of how California "works" when it comes to dealing with "complaints" that are filed.

  1. Complaints were filed against Vicki Hufnagel.

    In California, complaints can come from anyone (a patient or physician) or any entity (such as a hospital review board or medical association or even a medical insurance company). However, in order for the patient's records to be admitted into a complaint file for further action by the board, the patient MUST sign approval for their records to be used--even if they did not file the complaint in the first place. In other words, no complaint can result and be entered into evidence (proceeding into court) without the patient's permission as their, very private, medical records become public exhibits as part of the case presentation.

    : In special circumstances, the Medical Board of California can subpoena medical records through the legal system for admission into evidence without a patient's permission.

  2. After a substantial number of complaints were received, the board proceeded with an internal investigation. Patient's medical records were pulled from all parties involved. Expert physicians were contracted to review all documents and interview all parties.

  3. When evidence supports the complaints filed, the investigation proceeds to the next level. In California, the next level is that the physician's license becomes attached with notice of whatever activity is occurring. (This is what I saw when I checked her license with the State Board online -- although her case files begin in 1984, it was not settled until 1996.) The physician and all complainants are duly informed that evidence was found during the investigation that warrants a hearing.

  4. A public hearing is held in a courtroom with an Administrative Law Judge presiding. All evidence is presented at that hearing and all parties get to testify. Then, the judge summarizes the proceedings and proposes a judgment. The document that appears in the Links table identified as D-3613 is this first legal evidence of proceedings and the administrative law judge's proposal. As you can read, the judge proposed some heavy probationary measures but not revocation.

  5. The Division of Medical Quality for the State Medical Board of California reviews the proposed judgment and then decides to either allow the proposal to stand OR they can decide to file a motion of non-adoption and propose their own judgment. In Vicki's case, they decided to file a motion of non-adoption and to seek license revocation instead.

  6. At this point, a doctor has the choice of either surrendering their license OR appearing before a public hearing and pleading their case to the Division of Medical Quality and the public. Vicki appeared before a public hearing during a meeting of the Division of Medical Quality to try and keep her license.

  7. The Division of Medical Quality then renders their final judgment based on the evidence and the final public hearing. In Vicki's case, they decided that some issues surrounding some of the complaints could be arguably disagreed upon by "...reasonable doctors..." and some complaints were diminished in their regard to weight in her case. But not all. Ultimately, they stood by their original order for license revocation.

  8. Next, the physician has the option of taking the case directly to court for appeal. In fact, they can take it all the way to California Supreme Court, if they so wish. During the ensuing years that it takes to work its way through the court system, the physician is free to continue with their medical practice. In Vicki's case, license revocation was upheld by each layer of the court system. She filed motions for stay of execution all the way to the California Supreme Court and continued her practice all the while. However, the Superior (Supreme) Court for the state of California upheld revocation in September 1996 and she had to surrender her license.

California reports all actions taken against physicians to the National Practitioner Database which in turn sends out notifications to all states where the physician is licensed to practice medicine. In addition, the Medical Board of California reports all final actions taken against physicians to the Federation of State Medical Boards. With both of these actions, all states are notified whenever there is negative activity on a physician’s license in the state of California.

During the time this case was in progress, Vicki had licenses to practice medicine in Hawaii and New York. New York has since revoked her license. Hawaii indicates that they "...have never been formally notified of Vicki's license revocation in California...". (Even though the information is available in both of the above identified data sources.) This is why she has been able to retain her licensure in Hawaii. They are just now beginning to investigate her licensure status to determine how to proceed.

In addition to the summary judgment linked in the table above, there is also a notice of non-adoption by the Division of Medical Quality, a summary of the public hearing, Vicki's motion for stay of execution to court of appeals, and the California Supreme Court's final judgment.

In addition to those documents (copies can be purchased from the Medical Board of California for $22.75), there are 10,000-20,000 pages of court testimony. The original hearing lasted 6 weeks. Copies of the entire trial transcripts can be purchased -- but I've been told they would have to send out for an estimate of the cost. Since the case has been closed for some time, there is no public street access to the documents as they've all been long since archived. However, if someone wanted to, they could certainly have access to reading all court testimony and viewing all exhibits presented.

Was Vicki Singled Out?

Before blindly believing that Vicki was "singled" out by her peers, please be sure to review the annual license revocation information found in the Summary of 1998 Board Actions (available through the Federation of State Medical Boards - FSMB). You'll discover that there were 1,624 physician license revocations in 1998 alone. 219 were from California.

Just to ensure that 1996 wasn't an unusual year with only Ms. Hufnagel losing her license, I made a few inquiries. According to the FSMB, in 1996, there were 1,607 physician license revocations throughout the United States -- 177 in California alone.

I wonder what a 177-member chorus of "...they were out to get me..." sounds like? I know what it doesn't sound like...a solo.

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