They went to a plastic surgeon to improve their looks, but wound up dead

A silicone gel breast implant is shown at Mentor Corp. manufacturing facility in Irving, Texas.
A silicone gel breast implant is shown at Mentor Corp. manufacturing facility in Irving, Texas. Associated Press

The state medical board has ordered a 30-day suspension for a Visalia plastic surgeon accused of gross negligence and incompetence in the treatment of four patients, including two women who died in 2013.

Dr. Robert Alan Yoho, who has had offices in Pasadena and Visalia, cannot practice medicine from Nov. 19 through Dec. 16 under the disciplinary order by the Medical Board of California.


The suspension was part of a five-year probation the board imposed. Yoho agreed to the suspension and probation in a stipulated settlement with the board. Agreement to discipline is not an admission of guilt.

The four cases cited by the medical board occurred between 2013 and 2015.

The medical board said one of the four patients had pain and bleeding in her left breast after having surgery in Visalia in July 2015. She was taken to an emergency department. In August 2015, she was treated by another physician for corrective surgery of her left breast, the board said.

One of the patients who died had breast augmentation surgery on May 1, 2013, in Pasadena. The board said she experienced respiratory arrest soon after awakening from surgery and was taken to Huntington Hospital. Resuscitation efforts failed, and she died shortly after arrival at the hospital.

Many of these cases do settle.

Albert Garcia, lawyer for Dr. Robert Alan Yoho

The medical board said the autopsy of a woman who died Sept. 6, 2013, found the manner of death “was likely due to ‘trauma’ caused by the surgical procedure,” among other results. The city where the surgery occurred was not mentioned.

The medical board said a third patient experienced respiratory distress after surgery to remove fat in her abdomen, flanks, upper back, inner and outer thighs, a tummy tuck tuneup and fat transfer to the buttocks on June 19, 2013. She was taken to a nearby emergency department. The board did not identify the hospital.

Albert Garcia, a Bay Area lawyer who represents Yoho, said in the cases of both deaths, the coroner’s office determined the women died of fat embolisms (fat that becomes lodged in a blood vessel).

Nevertheless, the board was concerned, and Yoho decided to settle, Garcia said. “Many of these cases do settle.”

Yoho had no prior disciplinary issues, Garcia said. And he has not had any incidents since the accusation. He has performed “thousands and thousands of cosmetic procedures over a span of many years,” Garcia said.

Yoho received his medical license in 1981 from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. The medical board reports he has been licensed to practice in California since 1983.

Barbara Anderson: 559-441-6310, @beehealthwriter