Lipo doctor accused of murder to appear in court

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azfamily.com

UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 8

Second-degree murder, manslaughter charges

PHOENIX -- An initial pre-trial conference is scheduled for an Anthem doctor who is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the connection with the deaths of three patients.

Those patients of Dr. Peter Normann died after undergoing what should have been routine liposuctions procedures at the doctor's Anthem clinic.

Normann was indicted by a grand jury in October.

The doctor allegedly had fled the country last year not long after deputies began looking into the deaths.

Normann was arrested at an Ohio airport when he returned to the U.S.

He faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter.

Valley doctor facing manslaughter charges

PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office:

UPDATE: County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that homeopathic practitioner Gary Page (DOB 10/12/65) has been indicted on a single charge of manslaughter for the death of a patient at a cosmetic surgery clinic in Anthem.

On October 15, 2008, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted Page on one count of Manslaughter. He was arrested on October 19, 2008. A Grand Jury also indicted Normann on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of Manslaughter. One other employee at the clinic, Jose "Joey" Lopez (DOB 7/2/82), was indicted for Practicing Medicine Without a License, a class five felony. Lopez was arrested on October 16, 2008. Normann is believed to be outside the United States and an international search is underway.

Thomas stated, "The death of this patient rises above the level of a tragedy. We believe that a crime has been committed. We appreciate the exhaustive efforts of the Sheriff's Office in investigating these deaths."

ORIGINAL: County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that surgeon Peter Normann (DOB 4/16/61) has been indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter.

The victims, Ralph Gonzalez (DOB 11/30/73), Alicia Santizo Blanco (DOB 12/15/65), and Leslie Ann Ray (DOB 7/9/53), all died within a one-year period while being treated at Normann's clinic.

In December 2006 Gonzalez went into cardiac arrest during cosmetic surgery. He died at a local hospital according to a report from the Sheriff's Office, which conducted the investigation of Normann.

The Sheriff's Office also investigated the April 2007 death of Santizo Blanco who had received a fat injection for cosmetic purposes. According to the Arizona Medical Board, it appears the fat was injected into a blood vessel which then found its way to the patient's heart and lungs, causing death.

The death prompted on-site inspections by the Medical Board which found that Normann did not have any employees with formal medical training. The Board then restricted Normann from performing any surgeries or conscious sedation until further order of the Board.

In July 2007 a third patient died at Normann's clinic following a liposuction procedure. According to the Sheriff's report, Norman advised the patient, Leslie Ray, that his associate would be performing the surgery. The associate was not licensed to perform surgery. He was licensed as a homeopathic practitioner.

The Board's investigation found that Normann continued to have unqualified people assisting in surgery.

The Medical Board shut down Norman's clinic in July 2007. The Sheriff's Office then began its investigation to determine if criminal charges were warranted.

An investigation by the Sheriff's Office alleges that Normann:

Failed to obtain proper training for himself

Failed to have any employees with proper medical training

Allowed these employees, including a massage therapist, to participate in hours-long surgery with patients under deep sedation

October 17, 2008 Page 2

Allowed an employee to do a surgical procedure without a license

Failed to maintain the basic knowledge of Advanced Cardiac Life Support

Disregarded a suspension placed on him by the Arizona Medical Board and continued to conduct cosmetic surgery procedures

On October 15, 2008, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted Normann on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. The grand jury also indicted an employee at the clinic, Jose "Joey" Lopez (DOB 7/2/82), for Practicing Medicine Without a License, a class five felony.

Thomas stated, "Patients have every right to place their trust in doctors. When that trust is violated and deaths result, our office will not hesitate to act to protect the public."

Sheriff Arpaio stated, "It's a sickening case and a sad case. People walked into this office with every hope of improving their lives and instead they lost their lives."