When people entered the Hernandez Fernandez Clinic in Denver, Colorado, they assumed that the doctor they were meeting with was a board-certified plastic surgeon. Even those who thought they were doing their research by reading reviews on the clinic would have no way of knowing that “Doctor” Carlos Hernandez Fernandez was a fraud.
The clinic, which initially admitted that they regularly ran advertisements providing nutrition and beauty advice, claimed they were licensed and insured on their website. No license numbers were ever listed.
Fernandez became a licensed surgical assistant in 2011 and had been impersonating a doctor since at least 2015. The first complaint about Fernandez received by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) was filed in August 2016, claiming that Fernandez had performed an invasive surgery on a patient identified by the initials “C.T-T.” Fernandez was immediately dismissed from his position with Swedish and Porter Adventist hospital and his surgical assistant license had been revoked that same day.
Three more victims of Fernandez’s illegal practice would come forward within months of the first complaint to say that they too had suffered at the hands of Fernandez, including a patient identified as Maria who went forward with her experience on Denver’s CBS affiliate.
Maria says that she went to Fernandez in hopes to get a mini tummy tuck. After paying thousands of dollars upfront, Maria felt that the surgery was off from the beginning. According to Maria, she hadn’t been properly sedated. Maria’s lawyer, Anthony Lucero, who represented Maria during the interview, told CBS, “She felt the actual cutting of her skin. They do a form of liposuction. She felt every minute of it while it was going on and complained to the doctor.”
In addition to performing illegal operations on at least four patients, Fernandez was accused of sexually assaulting at least two patients during procedures and examinations. By April of 2017, 37 of Fernandez’s former patients came forward and his charges skyrocketed from 15 individual charges ranging from impersonating a doctor to sexual assault, to an astonishing 126 counts.
Ultimately, Fernandez was able to get a plea deal. In exchange for Fernandez’s guilty plea, all of his charges would be reduced to one count of assault, one count of impersonating a doctor, and one count of unauthorized practice. Fernandez is currently facing a prison sentence of up to six years with three years of parole and has been ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution before the date of his sentencing.
As for Fernandez’s victims, many will have to receive a host of medical treatments in order to correct the botched surgeries performed by the phony doctor. Others will have to go on knowing that they learned a hard lesson about who to trust within the medical industry.