The Times-Picayune
New Orleans-area psychiatrist disciplined for performing cosmetic surgery
January 04, 2013
By Laura Maggi

Psychiatrist Denise Marie Graham

The state licensing board for Louisiana doctors has found that a New Orleans-area psychiatrist improperly performed liposuction and offered “stem cell injection therapy” at a clinic where she worked. The physician, Denise Marie Graham, agreed in December to stop performing cosmetic surgery and other medical treatments outside her field of expertise, but kept her license to practice in the state.

Graham moved out of Louisiana in August, telling the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners that she doesn’t intend to practice medicine in Louisiana anymore. Meanwhile, the owner of the Elmwood clinics where Graham worked is challenging the investigation, as well as ones into other clinic doctors, saying in a lawsuit that the probes constitute harassment and are meant to put the operations out of business.

The lawsuit by Guardian Medical Group and Cellution Wellness Center filed this summer in Orleans Parish Civil District Court charges that the board and Dr. Cecilia Mouton, the director of investigations, are unfairly targeting doctors associated with the clinics. According to the lawsuit, Guardian Medical is a pain management clinic, as well as a medical care provider. Cellution Wellness provides cosmetic medical services.

Sidney Abusch, a certified public accountant who owns the clinics, declined to comment.

In a response, the board noted that none of the physicians noted in Abusch’s lawsuit “were threatened, suspended, or had their licenses revoked based on their employment with plaintiffs.” Although the lawsuit is partially framed as a defamation case, attorneys for the board countered that the suit failed to specify any defamatory statements by Mouton about the clinics.

The consent order agreed to by Graham states that she was not only performing liposuction, but also treating patients for chronic pain and “offering stem cell injection therapy for non-FDA approved indications.” A review by Mouton found that Graham was not following the board’s pain rules in the prescription of controlled substances. The consent order also called into question whether Graham had the “requisite education, training and experience to perform liposuction.”

According to the document, Graham asserted she was qualified and trained to treat pain and perform cosmetic surgery, including liposuction, and believed she wasn’t in violation of state law. But she agreed to the order to “avoid the time and expense” of more investigations.

While Graham kept her Louisiana medical license, she is now prohibited from performing stem cell therapies, cosmetic surgeries and pain management treatment that involves prescribing controlled substances. She was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and attend a professionalism seminar. Graham could not be reached for comment.


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Denise Graham