Breaking News
March 23, 2018 - New computational method helps to identify tumor cell mutations with greater accuracy
March 23, 2018 - Wales participates in the 100,000 Genomes Project
March 23, 2018 - 24-Hr Paging Cuts ED Visits for Kids with Endocrine Issues
March 23, 2018 - The brain learns completely differently than we’ve assumed since the 20th century
March 23, 2018 - Less nutritious diet mainly contributes to Type 2 diabetes among U.S.-based South Asians
March 23, 2018 - Stony Brook Medicine expert provides tips for healthy diet to decrease cancer risk
March 23, 2018 - New findings could have revolutionary impact on quality of life of older people
March 23, 2018 - Restoring enzyme may help reverse effects of vascular aging, study shows
March 23, 2018 - Protein profiling reveals new prostate cancer mechanisms
March 23, 2018 - FDA Takes Aim at Flavored Tobacco
March 23, 2018 - SMART Strategy Lowers Asthma Exacerbation Risk
March 23, 2018 - Cold open water plunge provides instant pain relief
March 23, 2018 - Patients with vascular malformations have poor health-related quality of life
March 23, 2018 - New DOD grant to support testing of promising therapy for triple-negative breast cancer
March 23, 2018 - Novel vaccine technologies can help better prepare for future infectious disease threats
March 23, 2018 - OncoBreak: Colonoscopy TV; Coverage for Genomic Testing; Care for Caregivers
March 23, 2018 - For some surgeries, nerve blocks mean better outcomes, fewer opioids
March 23, 2018 - Maternal obesity and androgen excess induce sex-specific anxiety in offspring, study suggests
March 23, 2018 - The tale of Theranos and the mysterious fire alarm
March 23, 2018 - USC researchers create algorithm to optimize substance abuse intervention groups
March 23, 2018 - Impulsivity may be associated with greater weight loss during treatment in obese children
March 23, 2018 - CTI BioPharma Announces Publication of Pacritinib Phase 3 PERSIST-2 Clinical Trial in JAMA Oncology
March 23, 2018 - Senate Panel Addresses Native Americans’ Opioid Troubles
March 23, 2018 - Brain connections in schizophrenia
March 23, 2018 - Mental health assessment in health checks can help detect psychologically vulnerable people
March 23, 2018 - New test for urothelial cancers offers less invasive, more accurate detection
March 23, 2018 - Groundbreaking 100,000 Genomes Project achieves important milestone to transform NHS care
March 23, 2018 - Mice getting a new lease of life with anti-aging pills
March 23, 2018 - Obesity kills taste buds and dulls taste sensation finds study
March 23, 2018 - Medical students get less formal education in radiation oncology, study finds
March 23, 2018 - Researchers find investigational compound to treat triple negative breast cancer after brain metastasis
March 23, 2018 - Researchers develop wearable system to monitor electrical activity in the stomach over 24 hours
March 23, 2018 - A Different Opioid Crisis | Medpage Today
March 23, 2018 - PTSD an ongoing fight for generation of Iraq War vets
March 23, 2018 - Researchers uncover specific gene region in hypertension
March 23, 2018 - Specific immune cells may help slow progression of ALS, research shows
March 23, 2018 - Biosense Webster launches new ‘Power to Heal’ campaign to alleviate AF burden
March 23, 2018 - FDA could curb or ban tobacco in menthol or fruit flavoured cigarettes soon
March 23, 2018 - Mom’s Pre-Pregnancy Waist Size Tied to Autism Risk
March 23, 2018 - AMD Treat-and-Extend Regimens OK: Ophthalmology Times
March 23, 2018 - Safe-sleep recommendations for infants have not reduced sudden deaths in newborns
March 23, 2018 - Survey finds inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for hospitalized children
March 23, 2018 - Researchers propose alternative treatment to target lymphoma signaling at its root
March 22, 2018 - Compound found in beet extract could help slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease
March 22, 2018 - Lower temperatures can trigger the body’s ‘good’ fat formation at cellular level
March 22, 2018 - Sentinel lymph node biopsies could be safely avoided for some breast cancer patients
March 22, 2018 - Combined Preeclampsia Test Superior to U.K. Standards
March 22, 2018 - Exclusive breastfeeding in hospital associated with longer breastfeeding duration
March 22, 2018 - Researchers prove link between common childhood cancer and inflammation
March 22, 2018 - Targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma
March 22, 2018 - California’s tax on millionaires yields big benefits for people with mental illness, study finds
March 22, 2018 - Weight-loss surgery reduces risk for severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
March 22, 2018 - Study identifies two genes associated with extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
March 22, 2018 - Biohaven Enrolls First Patient In Phase 3 Clinical Trial To Evaluate Rimegepant Zydis® ODT In The Acute Treatment Of Migraine
March 22, 2018 - ‘Bionic Pancreas’ OK for Very Young T1D Patients
March 22, 2018 - Parkinson’s gene initiates disease outside of the brain
March 22, 2018 - NMSU researchers publish findings on effective measures to remedy stress among adolescents
March 22, 2018 - Immunotherapy combination increases overall survival in people with kidney cancer, study shows
March 22, 2018 - Increased rate of accidental injuries associated with poorer hearing ability
March 22, 2018 - Gut microbiome may promote pancreatic cancer by inducing immune suppression
March 22, 2018 - New ocular inserts allow patient’s cornea to absorb more antibiotics
March 22, 2018 - FDA Alert: NeuroBlate Probe by Monteris Medical: Letter to Health Care Providers, Class I Recall
March 22, 2018 - Cessation of exercise can result in increased depressive symptoms
March 22, 2018 - Morning Break: Booze Study Brouhaha; Stem Cells for MS; Big Debt Problem
March 22, 2018 - New wearable tech from Western may hold big benefits for people with Parkinson’s
March 22, 2018 - Immune cells can repopulate in the retina after elimination, mice study shows
March 22, 2018 - States extend Medicaid for birth control, cutting costs — and future enrollment
March 22, 2018 - Research provides better understanding of how cancerous cells behave in low oxygen
March 22, 2018 - Menopausal hormone therapy taken soon after menopause may benefit the brain
March 22, 2018 - Booze Boosts Your Heart Rate
March 22, 2018 - Skeptical Cardiologist: Classifying Heart Failure
March 22, 2018 - Instead of nagging your spouse to lose weight, try going on a diet yourself
March 22, 2018 - Neem Biotech to share findings on cystic fibrosis biofilm disruption at ECFS Basic Science Conference
March 22, 2018 - Study uncovers new genetic cause of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy
March 22, 2018 - ENDO: Big Breakfast May Help in Diabetics
March 22, 2018 - I’m not overweight, so why do I need to eat healthy foods?
March 22, 2018 - UCLA-led study suggests unexpected reason for reduction in cardiovascular health disparities
March 22, 2018 - Study suggests detailed neuropsychological assessment for brief cardiac arrest survivors
March 22, 2018 - Anticoagulant drugs found safe to use in patients undergoing surgery for irregular heartbeat
March 22, 2018 - SP Industries appoints Brian Larkin as new President and CEO
Don’t Take a Call During Surgery

Don’t Take a Call During Surgery

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A surgeon took a Spanish language proficiency test while performing varicose vein surgery on a 70-year-old woman. The doctor said he had to take the test during the procedure because no other time was available. Since the case was being done under local anesthesia, she could hear what he was saying. She said she speaks Spanish, heard him talking about diabetes and blurred vision, and was fearful for her safety because she thought the doctor was talking about his own medical problems.

Nothing is more distracting than a cell phone in the operating room. In a perfect world, we would leave our cell phones in our lockers and sign out to another surgeon to cover us while we are operating. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. Many times when I was on call, I was the only general surgeon covering two hospitals. I had to have my cell phone in the operating room to field any calls that came in.

However, I cannot condone the actions of the surgeon in this case. Taking a language proficiency test while operating is inappropriate. According to a report, he admitted this as did his group’s medical director and risk management administrator.

A malpractice suit has been filed alleging the patient suffered emotional distress which is still ongoing. The outcome of the procedure is not an issue.

I have several thoughts.

If the test was offered at only one time, he should have scheduled the operation for another time.

If the patient was fluent in Spanish, she must have realized the surgeon was not talking about his own medical problems.

A successful malpractice suit is built on four elements. The physician must have a duty to care for the patient, which was true here. Negligence must have occurred. The negligence must have caused harm. Damages must be significant. It is possible that the patient suffered real emotional distress during and after the case, but she may have trouble proving it.

Juries can be unpredictable. In this case, I’m not sure whether a jury would have reservations about deciding for a plaintiff who was undergoing non-life-threatening surgery that otherwise turned out well, or want to punish the surgeon for what they might feel was egregious behavior.

This story went viral, and all the negative publicity may have been prevented if the patient had been offered a reasonable sum of money before suing.

Finally, I can’t resist sharing some excerpts from the summons filed by the plaintiff’s attorney. For those of you who have never been sued, comments like these are routine [but usually not quite so over the top].

Dr. X’s conduct … was so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency.

Dr. X’s conduct … was atrocious.

Dr. X’s conduct … was utterly intolerable in a civilized community.

Dr. X’s conduct as stated above were [sic] intentional and/or done with absolute reckless disregard of its consequences.

Due to the actions of Dr. X, Ms. Doe was terrorized and has suffered and will continue to suffer severe emotional distress.

After reading all of that, I suffered severe emotional distress.

“Skeptical Scalpel” is a surgeon who blogs at his self-titled site, Skeptical Scalpel. This post appeared on Physician’s Weekly.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles