Northwest Bakersfield doctor disciplined for gross negligence, sexual misconduct

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A northwest Bakersfield doctor has been disciplined by the California Medical Board for multiple charges including gross negligence and sexual misconduct. 

Jason Paul Helliwell, M.D. was disciplined to 42 months probation with various terms and conditions following several breast augmentations and a liposuction procedure between 2011 and 2014.

According to the medical board's website, Helliwell's office is on Brimhall Rd. and Coffee Rd. 

Documents show several accusations against Helliwell:
(NOTE: The women are identified in the documents by initials. 23ABC has decided not to identify the women by their initials.)

  • In May of 2013, a 23-year-old woman had a breast augmentation surgery by Helliwell. Within two weeks the incision was oozing and she was prescribed medications.

    In July of 2013 she contacted Helliwell to explain her incision had reopened. She was referred to another doctor because Helliwell was out of town, however the referred doctor could not see her. She was given care instructions and saw Helliwell six days later.

    Helliwell said at that time she needed to remove the implants. The implants were removed.
    The operative report shows the implants had holes in them, however the woman claims Helliwell told her "he could poke a small hole in the implants and claim they were ruptured so that she could get credit towards another augmentation."
     
  • In March of 2011, a 23-year-old woman had a breast augmentation procedure by Helliwell, but she was not satisfied with the results so she had a second surgery at the recommendation of Helliwell. She had the second procedure in January of 2013.

    The woman had healing issues and when Helliwell attempted to replace it, the implant ruptured. Helliwell reportedly closed the incision, but did not place a surgical drain. The woman eventually had to go to an emergency room for treatment.

    The same woman claimed to have a sexual relationship with Helliwell. According to the documents the two started a sexual relationship around January 2011. The woman claimed when they had sex Helliwell paid her for her services in cash. She claimed they met in motels, her apartment or at Helliwell's office for sexual intercourse. 
     
  • In March of 2014 a 36-year-old woman had a breast augmentation. Three weeks after the surgery one of the incisions tore open. Helliwell informed her she had to remove both implants or insert a surgical mesh.

    The woman asked if it was the same mesh as the one she's see on TV associated with lawsuits. He told her it was an improved mesh. The woman elected to have the mesh inserted. At a follow-up visit puss was visible at the suture sites. Helliwell removed the sutures. 

    Three weeks later the woman called and told him she still had puss oozing from the surgical sites. Helliwell was on vacation, asked her to send him pictures of the site and that he would call in more antibiotics. The antibiotics cleared up the infection, but the woman "was left with a large gaping hole." The woman had the implants removed by another surgeon shortly after. 
     
  • In November 2014 a 46-year-old woman went to Helliwell for consultation regarding liposuction and a mini abdominoplasty. On the registration form the woman checked off that she was interested in upper and lower abdominal SmarLipo and abdominoplasty. The woman did not check off on a mini tummy tuck. "Post-operative photos show that the umbilicus is stretched caudally and there is a bulge of fat above the pannus fold lateral to the suture line."

Following the accusations, the medical board has disciplined Helliwell to 42 months probation with various terms and conditions. Restrictions include Helliwell shall have a third party present while consulting, examining and treating female patients. He is prohibited from practicing cosmetic surgery with the exception of liposuction, fat transfer to the buttock, vaginoplasty, and labiaplasty.

23ABC reached out to Helliwell about the discipline, but he declined to comment. 

To see the full documents and letter of discipline, click here.

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