Warning issued for customers of home-based 'doctor'

Warning issued for customers of home-based 'doctor'
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Anyone who got medical services at a south Bakersfield house is now urged to go to a legitimate health care provider. Police are out with the warning after arresting 58-year-old Alberto Gonzalez.

Officers say he was doing medical treatments, but he can't prove he has a medical license.

Sgt. Uriel Pacheco couldn't say how many people may have gone to Gonzalez. Investigators believe he'd been providing services inside the home for about three months. Pacheco would not say exactly what type of treatment had been given, but he urged caution.

"Officers encourage anyone who received medical services from Mr. Gonzalez to seek out medical attention, medical advice, from a licensed practitioner," Pacheco said. He said there was no information available on whether anyone had been harmed by any services from Gonzalez.

Investigators have said they found a number of people waiting in front of the house on Sunday.

"I've learned that a large number of individuals there at the residence were Spanish speaking," Pacheco told Eyewitness News.

A woman at a nearby market told a reporter in Spanish that she's heard about things like this situation. When asked why someone would go to a house for medical care, the woman said regular doctors cost more.

In the same market parking lot, a Spanish-speaking man said he agrees cost may be a factor. He also said some patients may be more comfortable with care by a Spanish-speaker. But, the man said it's important that a caregiver has a medical license, saying without that, you don't know what medication you could end up with.

BPD investigators said they searched the house and found prescription medication, several used syringes and a medical exam table. Officers said Gonzalez told them he has a medical license from Mexico, but he couldn't provide any documentation of that.

Pacheco said officers are checking with the California Medical Board to see if there are any similar complaints against Gonzalez, and to see what charges could be filed in this case.

Eyewitness News contacted Medical Board spokeswoman Jennifer Simoes, who said anyone practicing medicine in California must have a license from this state. She also said the board would not comment about any complaints that have been filed, unless criminal charges end up being filed in a case.

Police also found a suspected stolen gun in Gonzalez's house. He was arrested on those charges, plus a charge of possession of a controlled substance and furnishing a controlled substance.

"The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending its final outcome," a police statement says.

The department asked anyone with information about Gonzalez to call (661) 327-7111 or to call Detective Vaughn Riddle at 396-3718.

Eyewitness News made several attempts to contact Gonzalez, but no one answered the door. Several neighbors said they never noticed anything unusual at the house.

The woman at the nearby market also said if no one got hurt, she doesn't think Gonzalez should be arrested. But, if someone was harmed, he should be held accountable. The woman also said there is a risk if someone like this doesn't know what he's doing.

Was there a danger to those who went to Gonzalez for apparent medical services?

"I don't know if in fact he's a doctor in another country," Pacheco responded. "So, I don't know what is his education, or what his experience is -- so, I really can't go into that."