Faculty said they knew the former med school dean had an alcohol problem
Yet USC let him keep practicing…
It's been more than a year and a half since Carmen Puliafito's resignation as dean of the Keck School of Medicine, however, more details regarding his alcoholism are emerging.
Faculty complaints of Puliafito's drinking habits began over five years ago. One colleague recalled witnessing Puliafito at a university dinner drunk, shouting and causing a commotion. Another said they saw him intoxicated at an off-campus event and watched him get in his car to drive home while visibly under the influence. Faculty also said that he seemed inebriated while at a Keck medical conference, as he constantly dozed off in his chair.
According to the LA Times, despite the complaints, USC failed to report his alcoholic tendencies to the California Medical Board, the agency that licenses and disciplines physicians. Typically, the board suspends the medical licenses of those who abuse alcohol.
Dr. Rohit Varma, the successor to Puliafito who recently stepped down himself, even admitted that the school acknowledged Puliafito's alcoholism, yet, he claims that the school knew nothing of Puliafito's heroin and methamphetamine abuse. Regardless, even without the knowledge of his illegal substance abuse, USC had enough evidence to fire Puliafito and refer him to the medical board.
Naturally, USC turned a blind eye to the entire ordeal.
Instead, he was "counseled on his professional behavior." Not only did USC not hold Puliafito accountable for his actions, but they didn't even offer him the correct treatment.
Puliafito no longer represents USC in any manner and got his medical license suspended after the findings of an investigation from the State Consumer Affairs Department. It is unclear whether USC is providing details to further the department's investigation.
What is clear is USC's knowledge of Puliafito's alcoholism and their intentional "ignorance" toward the situation, as Puliafito brought in renowned physicians and millions of dollars of donations to the school.
Clearly, USC values these commodities over transparency and professionalism.