324678207-dataDiscipline.jpg-2 (copy)

In this file photo, Dr. Jason Helliwell prepares a patient's abdomen prior to using a YAG (yttrium aluminium garnet) laser at the Advanced Women's Health Center he runs in Bakersfield. The laser is used in conjunction with a solution that numbs and melts the patient's fat cells.

A Bakersfield gynecologist who also practices cosmetic surgery will be placed on 42 months of probation starting Friday following allegations of gross negligence and sexual misconduct.

The terms of probation imposed by the California Medical Board on Dr. Jason Paul Helliwell, who has an office in northwest Bakersfield, include attending an ethics course, a program to assess his physical and mental health, and monitoring by another licensed physician who will submit quarterly written reports evaluating Helliwell's performance. 

Also, Helliwell, 46, is prohibited from practicing cosmetic surgery, with a few exceptions such as liposuction, according to the settlement. He must notify all patients he's treating that he cannot perform cosmetic surgery, and keep a log of those notifications to be made available for inspection by the Medical Board. 

During his probation, a third party must be present when Helliwell consults, examines or treats women patients in the office, according to the settlement. 

A person working at Helliwell's office said Wednesday he's not giving comment regarding the Medical Board's disciplinary order. 

The discipline stems from allegations made against Helliwell over a period of years, including the following: 

According to the accusation, Helliwell performed breast augmentation surgery in May 2013 on a 23-year-old woman. She experienced complications after surgery, and several weeks later a wound ruptured along the surgical suture.

The wound was closed with a suture, but according to the accusation there was no debridement — the medical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue.

The incision reopened two months after the original procedure, but Helliwell was on vacation and another doctor supposedly covering for him said he couldn't see the patient. She waited six days and went back to Helliwell's office, had both implants removed and he charged her $1,000. 

According to the accusation, Helliwell told the patient he could poke a small hole in the implants and claim they were ruptured so she could get a credit for another augmentation. She refused.

Another patient, also 23, underwent breast augmentation surgery in March 2011. Dissatisfied with the results, she underwent a second surgery in January 2013.

She also experienced wound healing issues, according to the accusation, and about six weeks after the second surgery her right breast implant was exposed through the open wound. The implant ruptured when Helliwell tried to replace it. 

Helliwell told the women he didn't have a replacement at his office so he sutured the incision closed and didn't place a surgical drain, according to the accusation. Her symptoms worsened and she developed a high fever, pain and swelling and was admitted to a local emergency room with sepsis. 

"(Helliwell's) attempt at salvage by reclosing the wound showed a fundamental lack of knowledge," the accusation states. 

It's also alleged in the document that Helliwell first met the patient who suffered sepsis when they arranged a sexual encounter. A sexual relationship developed between the two, for which Helliwell paid her, according to the accusation. 

Recommended for you

(6) comments

amtfor attorneys

they do get away with alot depending on who and where u work thats life and God gets them sooner or later its just to bad u cant see it

Stating the obvious

This is horrible. Vanity has a cost.

Boonies

I, unfortunately, was one of his victims backin 2011. I was new to Bakersfield, went for an advertised 'mommy makeover'. Since his 'makeover', I've required a total of 5 reconstructive surgeries, 4th surgery consistedof a full flap surgery. Still under my Drs care. Helliwell should be in jail for what he has done to so many women.

Heather Picket

Have personally heard at least 10 horror stories about this doc. My wife went to him personally and he asked if he could take a picture of her V for insurance purposes. Mind you this was a standard exam and not looking for approval on a future procedure or surgery. My wife has never been back.....

JimmyDude

Saw this story on Channel 23 News the other day - immediately followed by a commercial for the same doctor. I know nothing about the doctor, the case or the allegations - it just struck me as odd.

Nathan

An unfortunate reminder that a four year OB/GYN residency does not qualify a physician to perform plastic or reconstrcutive surgery.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.