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SoCal Nurse Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Plastic Surgery Death

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CHULA VISTA, Calif.—A nurse pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge May 16 in a patient’s death at a South Bay plastic surgery clinic.

Heather Lang Vass, 43, faces up to four years in state prison for the death of Megan Espinoza, a 36-year-old mother of two who died more than a month after undergoing a breast augmentation operation on Dec. 19, 2018.

Dr. Carlos Chacon, 48, remains charged with murder in the case.

Espinoza went into cardiac arrest during the operation at Divino Plastic Surgery in Bonita.

Prosecutors say Chacon and Vass allegedly delayed contacting emergency services for about three hours. Chacon is also accused of ordering his staff not to call 911 when Espinoza’s condition declined, instructing staff to lie to Espinoza’s husband regarding her condition, and seeing four other patients after Espinoza went into cardiac arrest.

Chacon remains out of custody on $500,000 bail. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that he can remain out of custody provided he only performs surgery if a licensed anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist is administering anesthesia during surgery and he may only perform surgery at accredited surgery centers.

He also must inform surgical patients of the pending charges he is facing and must provide proof of that notification to the court.

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