Prominent Fresno surgeon facing lawsuits defends himself

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A prominent Fresno heart surgeon facing several lawsuits is now defending himself.

Action News tried to speak with Dr. Pervaiz Chaudhry for months and our requests were repeatedly denied. He agreed to sit down with us because he says he wants to try and clear his name.

Right now, Silvino Perez is living in a vegetative state at a rehab center after an open heart surgery at Community Regional Medical Center in 2012. His family says Dr. Pervaiz Chaudhry who was supposed to treat him, caused him pain.

"It's a heart surgery and people have complications and you can have complications anytime a day later, two days later, five days later, or an hour later and he had a complication after the surgery," said Chaudhry.

In a report, investigators from the state Department of Public Health say the doctor admitted to walking out of the operating room before Perez's chest was closed. The agency punished the hospital with penalties totaling $175,000 in fines late last year.

In a written statement, a spokesperson for the hospital said, "We respect and have faith in the legal system and its fair, objective and balanced approach to resolving disagreements. While we won't comment on the particulars of any pending lawsuit we believe the facts proven will be considerably different than the unsubstantiated allegations made. The trial by media in the case is unfortunate and we are anxious for the proper legal process to take place."

But Dr. Chaudhry says he chose to come forward despite the pending litigation to share his account of what happened.

"I completed the surgery. I was in the operating room. Everything was done, chest was closed, and everything was done. I went and talked to the family, the patient was completely stable. That's my routine every day," said Chaudhry.

The doctor believes state investigators wrote up a faulty report. His teams of lawyers say hospital time stamps prove he never left the room until the surgery was finished. They argue the state's accusations have opened up a flood of other lawsuits. "They have irreparably damaged me professionally, emotionally, my reputation, health wise and my family. I have taken it and believe that the legal system will prevail," said Chaudhry.

A total of four lawsuits have been filed since the penalty including one from the family of Gregory Riddle. An attorney for his loved ones believes he died after Chaudry's care. But the doctor says he strives to give everyone the best and most cutting edge treatment. Chaudhry said, "I am confident that the patients and the public have been lied to and falsified. I personally believe the legal system will prevail and I'll be vindicated."

Action News reached out to the Department of Public Health for a comment but they did not respond by the time this story aired.

Chaudhry's lawyers say they are considering legal action themselves because his reputation has been damaged.

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