BOSTON SURGEON REPRIMANDED FOR FALLING ASLEEP IN CAR DURING SURGERY

Posted by Stacey L. Pietrowicz

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A recent article in the Boston Globe reported that a Boston Medical Center doctor was fined $5,000 by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) nearly five years after reports of the doctor falling asleep in his car during a surgical procedure in November 2016. Dr. Tony Tannoury, head of spine surgery at the hospital, allegedly left the operating room before the start of an emergency ankle surgery to eat something in his car and fell asleep, missing the procedure and forcing a senior resident to complete the operation. According to the article, BORIM found that Dr. Tannoury “engaged in conduct that undermines the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession” and issued the fine.

Fortunately for the patient, the hospital reported a positive surgical outcome, which does not always happen in cases of surgical negligence. What may be more surprising, however, is that Dr. Tannoury’s behavior does not qualify as a “serious reportable event” under a 2008 Massachusetts law that requires the report of certain medically adverse events to the Department of Public Health. The DPH has identified classes of events that are “usually or reasonably preventable” and fall into certain categories. Those related to surgical procedures are as follows:

Wrong site surgery of procedure
Surgery or procedure on wrong patient
Wrong surgery or procedure
Unintended retention of foreign object
Intraoperative or immediate postoperative death of an ASA Class 1 Patient

Because patients typically are not conscious during surgery, bringing medical malpractice claims centered on surgical errors often involves lengthy and complex factual investigations.

SUGARMAN’s attorneys have decades of experience investigating and prosecuting medical malpractice claims including claims involving complex surgical errors. If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered an adverse outcome following surgery, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your options, call (617) 542-1000 to speak to a partner today or email us at info@sugarman.com