A Westport plastic surgery center that state health officials placed on a two-year probation last summer has closed, ending a string of disciplinary actions taken against the facility.
Dr. Joel Singer, the sole owner and operator of the Center for Ambulatory Surgery (CAS), has voluntarily surrendered the facility's license to operate its outpatient center at 32 Imperial Ave. in Westport, according to an affidavit filed with the state Department of Public Health.
The decision to surrender the license cannot be reversed and "constitutes disciplinary action," the affidavit says.
Singer has agreed that he will not seek to reinstate the center's license at any time in the future, according to the filing. He also agreed not to seek a new outpatient facility license, neither as an individual nor as part of a different corporate entity.
DPH inspections have revealed multiple violations at the center in recent years, which resulted in last year's probation. They included rusty equipment, a broken fire alarm system, an unlocked refrigerator containing medications and worn-out brushes being used to clean instruments.
Among other issues, the center also could not provide proof that employees were trained in how to prevent infections, and investigations by state officials found that some patients were given post-surgery medications without a doctor's order.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Singer provided a prepared statement that said he decided to relinquish the outpatient facility license for CAS "after much consideration and upon the advice of counsel."
"He has agreed with the officials at the Department of Public Health that it is impractical to re-open the existing surgical facility because of regulatory issues, and particularly because the building requirements for an ambulatory surgical center could no longer be met at the existing location after physical damage from Superstorm Sandy," the statement said.
Singer has previously said the damage to the center's fire alarm system was caused during the October 2012 storm. He does not own the building in which CAS was located and said last year he had no control over when the landlord would fix the alarm system.
He maintains no patients were harmed as a result of any of the violations. "There was never a reportable incident involving any patient, nor did any of the issues directly involve patient care," the statement said.
The affidavit filed with the DPH ends any pending matters against CAS' license; state officials will dismiss their case against the center. It also has no effect on Singer's individual physician's license that allows him to practice medicine.
CAS' license was granted in October 2009 and was set to expire Sept. 30, 2015, DPH records show. Singer's license to practice medicine and surgery was granted in 1967, a year after he graduated from Yale School of Medicine, and is due for renewal next month, according to state records.
Singer, whose own medical license has been put on probation in the past, continues to practice medicine and plastic surgery in Greenwich and in Great Neck, N.Y. The Greenwich site operates under the name Imperial Plastic Surgery.
He has treated more than 8,000 patients in Connecticut and New York and "countless patients have been very pleased with the outcome of their procedures," according to his statement. He claims he developed one of the first in-office surgical facilities in the state and was the first plastic surgeon in Connecticut to perform liposuction.
He has faced sanctions from the state, however, dating back to 1999 when he was placed on a year's probation for inserting breast implants that were different sizes into a patient.
This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org).Copyright © 2015, CT Now