Former USC Dean Fights For His License After Former Prostitute Overdoses In His Hotel Room

download-1According to the Los Angeles Times, Carmen Puliafito, 67, the former Dean at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, was pushed into drug use by a 21-year-old former prostitute named Sarah Warren.  His counsel argued that the Harvard-trained ophthalmologist is bipolar and became “addicted” to the young woman who led him into perdition.

Puliafito insists that it was Warren who pushed him into street drugs like meth and that she was an even heavier user. Puliafito resigned from his $1.1 million annual post three weeks after Warren overdosed in his Pasadena hotel room.  He has now stopped using meth and wanted to keep his medical license.

The most serious allegations are that he might have supplied drugs to Warren, though he categorically denies those allegations.

His counsel offered a narrative worthy of a Jane Austen novel. He was portrayed as a vulnerable man who sought to rescue Warren from a “life of drugs and prostitution” but soon himself trapped in a “fantasy” world filled with drugs and reckless acts.  Warren is portrayed as his Siren drawing him deeper and deeper into this drug-filled world.

Usually faculty controversies are not nearly this compelling.  Puliafito may not get his license back but he has a movie script already written.

Kudos: Professor Roger E. Schechter

21 thoughts on “Former USC Dean Fights For His License After Former Prostitute Overdoses In His Hotel Room”

  1. Dude!!! just consider your medical career over and be glad you didn’t get some jail time because it’s hard to believe that you didn’t supply this woman with drugs from your job.

  2. There was a cat that was crossing some railroad tracks. A train is coming down the tracks. The cat just about makes it over the tracks when the train passes by. The train nips the very end of the cats tail. When this happens the cat turns his head to check out what happened. That’s when the train hits the cat and kills him. The moral of the story, ” Don’t loose your head over a piece of tail”.

  3. I believe this explicitly and categorically.

    “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

    A 21-year-old woman juxtaposed with a 67-year-old man.

    This is res ipsa loquitur saying nolo contendere as a double entendre.

    What possible resistance would this man have had?

    Hers may have resembled “…the face that launched a thousand ships.”

    A woman often holds the power in the palm of her hand.

    Women absolutely do not need “Affirmative Action Privilege.”

  4. If this is a Jane Austin story, then Dr. Puliafito is Mr. Wickham.

    I sincerely hope that he was not practicing medicine. The way things are going at schools, being run by people high on meth might be the only explanation.

    It is very sad to see anyone successful or intelligent throw their life away and self destruct. Many people with mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, medicate themselves with drugs. As a physician, he should have known better. But how can you reason when your wiring is faulty? When people go off their meds they can be irrational. Maybe that’s why doing drugs instead of prescription medication for his disorder seemed like a good idea at the time.

    I actually don’t blame other addicts in the room when someone OD’s. If there is a stone-cold drug dealer, then yes, but other addicts? They are not capable of making a good decision to save their lives, obviously. They’re drug addicts. As for who provided the drugs to whom, drug addicts do drugs together. I do not hold one of them more to blame unless they deliberately gave someone a hot dose.

    I wish I had a solution to drug addiction. It is one of the major drivers of homelessness, misery, and the destruction of lives. The opiod epidemic is especially devastating. They are even on the road to ruining pot, which used to be an herbal tranquilizer with promising medical applications. It’s 7 times more potent than it was in the 1970s, the last time I checked. I assume this will only get stronger and its products more potent until it is yet another hard drug.

    Forced rehab doesn’t work. I read that it takes, on average, 27 times in rehab to quit meth and heroine, if you don’t die, first. I do not know if that figure includes forced rehabs, or if they are all voluntary.

    I’m really torn over legalizing street drugs. I value personal freedom, and in general do not believe it’s any of the government’s beeswax what we put in our bodies. And yet, the FDA would make legalizing the selling of poison, which street drugs are, impossible. If you legalize meth, which is so toxic to make that houses blow up and people get sick just from walking inside, then how can you demand that prescription drugs go through hoops in FDA trials? They could just sell them on the street corners. Drug companies could come up with lethal painkiller cocktails to get high and go have runners distributing it. If toxic street drugs are legal, then you could not sue the manufacturer or the dealer, which would have far reaching implications to pharmaceutical companies and medical ethics.

    Our fortunes are all connected. When a significant portion of our communities poison themselves and get hooked on street drugs or abuse prescription drugs, then we all pay. There are homeless shanties, tents, and tarps all up and down riverbeds in CA, as living, glaring proof of the consequences of drug addiction and untreated mental illness for those who refuse help, or are incapable of accepting it. It’s really hot in CA, and those camps filled with refuse are in dry brush. They cook their food in there. They defecate in there. They start fires in the dry months, and then the rains wash their used needles, condoms, and infectious feces down ephemeral rivers, sometimes all the way to the beach. Be careful where you and your children step. Meanwhile, the rest of us turn in used motor oil so as not to pollute waterways, and horse owners are harassed about manure runoff into bioswales.

  5. Saying a man can become addicted to a young woman sounds like the kind of thing the religious police would say in Saudi Arabia right before stoning her to death. His attorney ought to be ashamed of himself for spewing forth such misogynist garbage.

    1. Karl Kolchak – if you can be addicted to porn, sex, video games, drugs, alcohol, etc. certainly you can be addicted to a young woman. I am with his attorney on this one. I think the theory is right, I am not sure the Dean is actually addicted though.

      1. One can also be addicted to posting inconsequential quips on blogs.

        You take the cake, PCS; blather beyond means.

  6. @JT
    “Puliafito resigned from his $1.1 million annual post three weeks after Warren overdosed in his Pasadena hotel room.”

    It’s curious that neither JT nor the author(s) of The LA Times article he cites says anything about the outcome of Ms. Warren’s overdosing. They tell us what’s happened so far with all the Important Male Medical People, but nothing about whether Ms. Warren survived her overdose and if she did, what its medical consequences were.

    The employment status of the Important Male Medical People is apparently more newsworthy to them, and exclusively so, than the physical health (or lack thereof) of the young woman at the center of the scandal.

    1. Reminded me of the fine movie Scarlet Street, 1945, starring Edward G. Robinson and directed by Fritz Lang.

    2. Oh no! I did it too! And I love Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell. Thanks for pointing that out.

  7. That story sounds vaguely familiar. It was the FBI agent who was convicted some years ago for spying for the Russia. His name was Hansen, Jansen, something like that. Anyway, he was supposedly a devout Catholic, a member of Opus Dei, but somehow or another developed a relationship with a hooker in DC. He purchased a Volvo for her, nice jewelry, clothes, etc. He claimed he was just trying to help her get out of the “trade,” and the money he got for selling secrets to the Russians was necessary for his philanthropic efforts. He was sentenced to life in prison.

    1. Hanssen. He and his wife sent their children to an Opus Dei school and (IIRC) attended rosary services and such with Opus Dei supernumeraries. I don’t believe they were supernumeraries themselves. (Opus Dei numeraries are celibates and commonly live communally).

  8. Cleaning house. What a mess:

    “Puliafito’s successor to the deanship, Rohit Varma, also stepped down as The Times was preparing to publish a story about a sexual harassment allegation against him that resulted in a $135,000 payout to his alleged victim.

    “Then earlier this month, The Times reported that USC allowed Dr. George Tyndall, a gynecologist at the student health center, to continue practicing on campus despite a record of complaints about him that spanned more than two decades.

    “The revelation sparked more than a week of turmoil at the university that culminated with Friday’s announcement that Nikias**would be stepping down.

    “Like the Puliafito case, USC at first did not report Tyndall to the state medical board. Instead, the university allowed him to quietly resign with a settlement payout. USC filed a belated report in March and acknowledged the physician should have been reported much earlier.

    “Tyndall, 71, has denied wrongdoing. In earlier interviews with The Times, he said he dedicated his career to “Trojan women” and provided care that was more thorough than that of many colleagues, but never inappropriate.

    “Since The Times’ article about Tyndall was published, more than two dozen women have filed lawsuits against the university alleging misconduct by the physician during gynecological exams. More than 410 called a USC hotline to report their experiences with the doctor, and the Los Angeles Police Department launched a criminal investigation.” -from the LA Times article

    (**USC President C.L. Max Nikias will be resigning, as well.)

    And Puliafito should be stripped of his license, permanently.

  9. Poor guy – dragged into the gutter. I hope they do not give him his license back.

  10. It is from cases such as this that we should consider a Rape Shield type law, applicable instead to sex workers.

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