A San Jose man has been arrested on charges of practicing
medicine without a license after he allegedly performed an illegal,
after-hours breast-implant operation in a San Jose chiropractor's
office, slicing into a young woman's chest with only local
anesthetic as she reclined in a dentist-style chair. The woman's
breasts were mutilated.
Nguyen Nhu Quang, 62, was arrested Thursday and arraigned Friday.
He was charged with the unlicensed practice of medicine, battery
with serious bodily injury, mayhem and paying accomplices for
patient referrals. Quang, who is not licensed to practice medicine
in California, remained in custody late Friday on $1 million
Also arrested Thursday were Dr. Thuan Moc Luu, 40, a licensed
chiropractor and podiatrist who allegedly provided surgery space for
Quang, and Minh Ly, a 58-year-old cosmetologist believed to have
referred the woman to Quang. All were in custody as of Friday
Prosecutors also issued an arrest warrant for Julie Thuy-Huong
Trinh, 36, who allegedly operated a separate beauty business,
recruited patients for Quang and served as his surgical assistant.
Her attorney contacted prosecutors about her possible surrender, but
she had not come forward by Friday afternoon, said Ann Huntley,
deputy district attorney.
All four were charged with the unlicensed practice of medicine
after an investigation by the California State Medical Board, the
Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office and the state
Department of Insurance.
The identity of the woman, who is 25 and lives in San Jose, was
not released Friday.
``She wakes up every night hearing the sound of scissors cutting
through her breast tissue,'' said her attorney, Warren Nguyen, who
described Quang as a ``butcher.'' ``It was just torture the way she
Nguyen said the woman's saline breast implants were removed, but
she is permanently disfigured. The woman has sued Quang, Luu, Ly and
Trinh, as well as the manufacturer and distributor of the implants,
in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Nguyen said.
In late June, the woman went to a beauty salon operated by Ly
after seeing an ad Ly had placed in a popular Vietnamese magazine,
Huntley said. She wanted a mole removed from her face at the time
but also asked Ly about breast implant surgery mentioned in the ad.
Ly referred her to Quang, Huntley said.
Cost of $3,200
Quang agreed to perform the operation for $3,200 and scheduled
the operation for 6 p.m. July 1, Huntley said. When the woman
inquired about Quang's office, Ly and Trinh told her that Quang was
a noted cosmetic surgeon from the Los Angeles area who came to San
Jose every week to perform operations, the woman's attorney
When she arrived at the chiropractic clinic on Senter Road, she
was taken to a treatment room and asked to put on a gown. The
operation was performed in a dentist-style chair, said Candis Cohen,
a spokeswoman for the California Medical Board.
Quang injected the woman's breasts with what investigators
believe was a local anesthetic, then performed the saline implant
operation without another kind of anesthesia, Huntley said. Trinh
served as his assistant, at times telling Quang where to make
incisions. When the woman's boyfriend came to pick her up, Quang
gave him a plastic bag of pills said to be antibiotics and
painkillers, Huntley said.
But the pain didn't go away. When the woman returned for
follow-up care, Quang told her the implant in her left breast had
ruptured, and he performed another operation, again only using local
anesthetic to replace it.
``She was in incredible, excruciating pain,'' Huntley said.
Nguyen, the woman's attorney, said Quang blamed his patient for
not healing properly. In pain and suffering from an infection from
the ruptured implant, she finally sought care at a local emergency
room. Her implants were removed.
Breast augmentation surgery may be performed under general
anesthesia or under a combination of intravenous sedation and local
anesthesia, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic
Surgery's Web site. The average surgeon's fee for breast enlargement
is about $3,300, according to the society, but hospital and
anesthesia charges can add thousands to that amount.
Nguyen said Quang obtained the saline implants, made by Mentor
Corp., from a distributor called Anna Beauty Institute, in the same
complex as chiropractor Luu's office. The institute's office has
since been closed and Nguyen said he was told the owner now is in
Luu's office, which was closed Friday, sits next to a bridal
store in a strip mall with other law and doctors' offices. Mail is
piling inside near the front door, and a red, neon sign still
shines: Chiropractic and Foot Doctor.
The state Board of Podiatric Medicine said Luu's record shows no
previous violations. But the board is investigating this case, and
it's possible his license could be revoked, said the board's
enforcement coordinator, Michelle Mason. Employees of neighboring
shops said they were surprised the doctor had been arrested and
didn't know whether illegal activity had occurred in the office.
One woman said she remembered seeing an advertisement for Trinh's
cosmetic business posted on the window a couple of months ago and
believed the doctor worked there one or two times a week and leased
the space to other people.
Nguyen said Vietnamese people and others in immigrant communities
are sometimes preyed upon because of their lack of knowledge about
``It definitely is a recurrent problem in the community,'' said
Nguyen, who served on the city of San Jose's Human Rights Commission
in the 1990s. ``People don't know how to report problems to the
proper authorities. It's a sad thing when you have your own
countrymen commit this kind of act.''