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Orem plastic surgeon surrenders licenses, agrees to not reapply for at least three years

Published: Friday, Jan. 6 2012 1:31 p.m. MST

Joseph Berg

Utah County Jail

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SALT LAKE CITY — An Orem plastic surgeon who pleaded guilty to charges in connection with an altercation with his girlfriend has agreed to not practice medicine for at least three years.

Dr. Joseph Berg, 37, agreed to surrender his physician and surgeon license in addition to his controlled substance prescribing license, according to n order and stipulation from the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing issued Friday. Berg also stated that he would wait three years, successfully complete probation and undergo various evaluations at a facility in Mississippi before attempting to reapply for his licenses.

The order included a number of facts that the doctor admitted were true, including information that when police responded to Berg's home on a 911 call, they found Oxycodone and various other medications for which Berg did not have a prescription and that Berg was showing "signs of severe substance abuse" while at work.

Berg is a cosmetic surgeon who owns the Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Institute and Day Spa in Orem.

"Consistent with the allegations made and the discovery made by law enforcement, (Berg) now admits that he has a severe and debilitating addiction to prescription drugs," the order states. "(Berg) is not currently physically and/or mentally fit to practice as a physician."

Berg's licenses were suspended following a criminal investigation that began after Orem police received a 911 call and responded to Berg's house on Nov. 6. When police arrived, they heard a 48-year-old woman crying and in distress. Police broke down the front door and said they found a woman — reportedly Berg's girlfriend — with her hands and wrists taped together and tied to a dresser in the closet.

Berg pleaded guilty to three of the five charges that were later filed against him in 4th District Court, including an amended charge of kidnapping, a second-degree felony, and possession or use of a controlled substance and purchase, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, both third-degree felonies.

In exchange for his plea, an additional count of purchase, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony, and a class B misdemeanor assault charge were dismissed. Prosecutors said the deal was offered because Berg had no serious, previous criminal history and the victim did not want to see the case prosecuted.

A sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 27.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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