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Wisconsin doctor’s drunk driving history follows her to Texas

CHRISTI, Texas -- It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that drinking and driving don't mix, but that didn't stop a former Wisconsin neurosurgeon from driving drunk again and again. FOX6 Investigators show you why the surgeon's criminal history is catching up with her... again.

Patients and relatives of those treated by Dr. Melissa Macias tell the FOX6 Investigators, one thing is clear.

"Something is not right with that doctor," said Rose Deleon, daughter of a patient who died after a surgery performed by Dr. Macias.

Deleon can see that now.  If only she'd had an inkling, she says, before the doctor operated on her mother.

"She was my best friend and she was out of my life in a heartbeat," she said.

Lorraine Deleon underwent spinal fusion surgery in January of 2016 and Dr. Macias performed the operation.

"The doctor comes out and looks very panicked. And she says, 'There have been some complications and your mom isn't waking up out of anesthesia,'" Rose Deleon said.

Rose Deleon talks to FOX6 about her mother, Lorraine Deleon, who died after a surgery performed by Dr. Macias. The doctor has not been found to have committed misconduct in the surgery, but has been disciplined for three OWI convictions, including one about a month after Deleon's surgery.

Her mother had suffered a massive stroke.

"We had to make the call the next day to let her go peacefully," Rose Deleon said.

After her mother's death, Rose Deleon moved away to Washington state, never planning to think of Dr. Macias again.

Until friends started calling.

''Hey this doctor on the news might have been your mom's surgeon," she said.

A little more than a month after Lorraine Deleon died, Dr. Macias was picked up for driving drunk. It was her third offense. Events that led up to the arrest underscore the doctor's growing reputation for having a nasty temper.

Just minutes before the traffic stop, Macias made a scene at a local hair salon. Workers told police she knocked down a promotional display, broke a vase and left without paying.

"I literally could not say anything without getting sworn at," one employee told police. "I do not think she should be allowed back in here."

Stopped later by officers, Macias explained the outburst from her driver's seat.

"I waited 45 minutes for my hair cut and it just didn't go well," she said.

After the arrest, Macias went back to work and soon operated on Darshell Garner, who had no idea her surgeon had been charged with a crime.

"She would've never touched me. Had I known she had any OWI, she would`'ve never touched me," Garner said.

The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board ordered Macias to abstain from alcohol and get ongoing treatment, but allowed her to keep practicing medicine.

By the time FOX6 Investigators first reported on Macias' convictions, she had moved to Texas. However, the Texas Medical Board's public website showed no indication she had any criminal or disciplinary history.

And in the fall of 2016, she left for a neurosurgery job in Texas.

Our investigation at the time found there was no indication on the Texas Medical Board website that Dr. Macias had ever been in trouble with the medical board or had even been charged with a crime.

"I believe any patient has the right to know," Garner said.

Deleon saw our story and decided to do something about it.

"I just Googled the Texas Medical Board and I found out how to do the complaint process and I sent them a complaint," she said.

The effort paid off. In March, the Texas Medical Board also ordered Macias to abstain from alcohol and get ongoing treatment. Plus, the board's website now shows Macias has both a criminal and disciplinary record.

"Hopefully people can look at that before they choose a surgeon and make a better-informed choice of someone that can suit them better." Deleon said.

And the next time Dr. Macias tells a police officer she has not been drinking.

Officer: "Any alcohol tonight?"
Dr. Macias: "No sir."
Officer:"No? None at all?"
Macias: "No."

She might just be telling the truth.

To be clear, Dr. Macias has never been found responsible for any malpractice or professional misconduct in connection with Lorraine Deleon's death. But it was the patient's daughter, Rose Deleon, who filed the complaint in Texas that led to that state's order that Macias abstain completely from alcohol, seek treatment and comply with regular drug and alcohol testing.