Let’s start with an American anesthesiologist now living in Australia has admitted that he was not improperly fired by the University of New South Wales. He has apologized and withdrawn the allegations. The 2009 dismissal and subsequent charges by the doctor resulted in a lengthy investigation by several entities.
He had accused the University and its vice chancellor of a massive cover-up. The school has retaliated by calling the physician and “academic grifter” and accusing him of being a con man with a 15-year history of fraud and deceit. Other terms used to describe him in a story from The Australian and quoted in the Retraction Watch blog were “a fraud, a cheat and an incorrigible liar.” He is also accused of plagiarism and falsifying his credentials.
His bibliography lists over 150 publications. I wonder if he will be featured on Retraction Watch in the future.
The next example features a 61-year-old woman who became hypoxic during a routine AV node ablation procedure and died 10 hours later. A lawsuit naming the cardiologist and the anesthesiologist was filed. The anesthesiologist was accused of surfing the Internet during the case.
In his deposition, the doctor who performed the ablation not only said the anesthesiologist was distracted, he also alleged that the oxygen saturation numbers on the anesthesia record were fabricated.
An article in the Dallas Observer quotes the transcript of the anesthesiologist’s deposition in which he denied ever having used social media during cases or posting patient-related material online. Later in the deposition, the plaintiff’s lawyer showed the doctor his Facebook post complaining that his next patient had lice. A second Facebook post was a photograph of a monitor with a comment that he was “just sitting here—sitting here watching the tube on Christmas morning. Ho, ho, ho.”
This case features not only dueling defendants but also contradictory testimony under oath by the anesthesiologist. Good luck if it goes to trial.
Let’s move next to Seattle. An anesthesiologist had his license suspended by the state for “sexting” during at least 2 dozen operations. He apparently sent 45 messages with sexual content during a single procedure, and he was alleged to have sent photos of his exposed genitals while in scrubs.
Another report says he was charged with having sex with a patient, accessing medical records and images for sexual gratification, making racist remarks about a patient, and writing prescriptions for controlled drugs outside of the scope of his practice.
About the only thing he allegedly didn’t do was tell a child that the Tooth Fairy isn’t real.
A second Seattle anesthesiologist has voluntarily taken a leave of absence from his practice after federal agents filed an affidavit stating that the doctor and a female associate had been smuggling women from Thailand into Washington for purposes of prostitution.
The story says the affidavit tells of undercover operations, video surveillance, and bank records listing ATM deposits of $426,000 in a single year with transfers to banks in Thailand.
When contacted the doctor said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about and if I did, I wouldn’t comment.”
This gives new meaning to the term “pimping,” which in medicine usually refers to singling out students or residents and asking them difficult questions.
Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and critical care and has re-certified in both several times. He blogs at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.com and tweets as @SkepticScalpel. His blog averages over 1400 page views per day, and he has over 10,000 followers on Twitter.