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qweewq11

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Doctor Leaves Surgery Patient to Visit Bank
Thu Aug 8,10:58 AM ET

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) - A Massachusetts doctor has been suspended for leaving a patient on the operating table midway through spinal surgery so he could deposit a check at his local bank, authorities said on Thursday.



The state board of medicine said David Arndt, an orthopedic surgeon, posed "an immediate threat to the public health, safety and welfare" after he left the patient last month with an open incision in his back.

Arndt left behind a surgeon who was not qualified to complete the surgery, according to board documents. After his 35-minute trip to the bank, Arndt returned to the operating room and finished the surgery within a few hours.

The patient, who was anesthetized during the procedure to restabilize his spine, apparently did not suffer any harm from Arndt's absence and was able to recover in the intensive care unit of Mount Auburn Hospital.

The board on Wednesday suspended Arndt's license to practice medicine in Massachusetts, but he will have a chance to appeal the decision.

According to a board investigator, Arndt acknowledged he had "exercised remarkably horrible judgement."

Arndt explained to the investigator he had been waiting for his paycheck because he had to pay some overdue bills, and had been hoping to finish the surgery before his bank closed for the day.

The procedure took longer than he expected, however, and Arndt decided to make a break for the bank midway through surgery.

Arndt, a graduate of Harvard Medical School ( news - web sites), was not available for comment on his suspension.
 

Tweetie_bird

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dayamm!

I am not one to judge too often, but...wow...imagine the liability "IF" something happened to the patient.

What's happening to the docs these days???? :( No wonder people roll their eyes when i tell them i want to be a physician :rolleyes:
 

DW

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Originally posted by Diogenes
yawn.......

Why does that fool have overdue bills to begin with?
seriously, hasn't anyone ever heard of automatic debits?
 

Papa Smurf

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Originally posted by Diogenes
yawn.......

Why does that fool have overdue bills to begin with?
Decreasing medicare reimbursements (5% this year alone) coupled with MD's that are unable to adjust their spending habits and thus continue to live from paycheck to paycheck = late payments.
 

MustafaMond

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I bet homie just had a simple case of "god complex" and didnt really think that what he was doing was a big deal.

I know surgeons that break scrub to have a smoke, or to take a break, if they need one. these usually last close to 30 min...

The funny thing is that , I dont think the patient even has a malpractice case, because there was no damage done by the surgeon.

He does, however, show a remarkably bad judgement, and it is good that they booted his ass.
 
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JumboFool

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ha, what a story. I heard one of the local newscasters talking about it on the morning news, and he seemed *completely* baffled just reading the words off the paper/telecaster. Shows you where priorities in Cambridge lie (ooooooooo).
 

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I wonder how far along in the surgery they were though... I mean if all that remained was to close up that doesnt seem like a big deal to me.
 

nuclearrabbit77

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i agree that he was remarkedly stupid, but on the otherhand..perhaps he was already done with the difficult portion of the surgery, and felt confident that a chief resident could take over for 30 mins or so.. who knows?
i think his suspension should consider that....
 

anmol

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Wait a minute, are you guys actually vouching for him here? I mean look at what he did. He left a person open on the table with an imcompetant MD. I mean what does that say about where his priorities are. Oh this is just another HUMAN BEING!! he/she can wait while I get some more impt stuff done. All that to freaken save the money for the fine for a late payment???? Granted he didnt hurt the patient, but helloooooooooooooooooo!! That is a person, imagine if that was your mom, or dad or anyone close to you. The MD has no respect whatsoever for his patient. Medicine is getting more and more reductionistic every day! It was a person onthe Operating table and not some diseased organ!! Im sorry, but that article really upset me.
 
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Diogenes

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Look, he was responsible for the well-being of the guy during the surgery. In my book that means he does not leave until the surgery is finished. Send an intern to deposit your check, if it that dire of a situation.
 
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2badr

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That was simply stupid. What could he have been thinking? Even if he was done with the "difficult" portion of the surgery and trusted an intern to finish the job,this was dumb. With all the lawsuits being filed today because of negligence was it really worth risking the life of a patient. Anything could have happened. If you ask me he's lucky just his license was suspended. He could have been trying to explain the death of this patient to a jury.
You better believe with all this publicity that family will sue him into next year.And those bills he was so worried about will seem like pennies.
 
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I think that the patient does have a case against the surgeon. He is permitted to sue for neglect. I understand that the risk of surgical complication increases with length of the operation when the patient is under general anesthetic. He was endangering the patient's life by keeping him under for an unnecessarily long period of time.
 

Whisker Barrel Cortex

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It doesn't sound like the surgery was almost over because the article says he came back and finished it within a few hours.

Surgeons very often leave the OR prior to closure of the fascia and the skin and let the residents do that part. This is accepted practice. Leaving the hospital, however, is not acceptable.
 

Spidey

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Originally posted by Whisker Barrel Cortex
Surgeons very often leave the OR prior to closure of the fascia and the skin and let the residents do that part. This is accepted practice.
That's what I was saying... the media loves to over-sensationalize everything but if all that remained was to close the guy up after the operation was pretty much done then I don't think it is such a ground-shaking big deal. However if he left an unqualified doc to perform the actual spinal surgery then the guy should definately be suspended/lose his license. It just seems hard to believe to me that someone smart enough to become a spinal surgeon could at the same time be stupid enough to do this.
 

vixen

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Originally posted by Spidey


That's what I was saying... the media loves to over-sensationalize everything but if all that remained was to close the guy up after the operation was pretty much done then I don't think it is such a ground-shaking big deal. However if he left an unqualified doc to perform the actual spinal surgery then the guy should definately be suspended/lose his license. It just seems hard to believe to me that someone smart enough to become a spinal surgeon could at the same time be stupid enough to do this.
Just because they're "smart" doesnt mean they'll always do the right thing....I think its ridiculous...the patient def has all the right for a lawsuit, I'd do the same thing! :mad:
 

vixen

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I heard that he left for 35 minutes and the other people left in the OR were not capable of doing much in case something happened....that doesnt sound right to me....even though nothing happened its a huge risk I would think.....do people become that desensitized they forget that they are working on a HUMAN????!!! :mad:

Why can't he stick to a budget?!
 

kaos

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Originally posted by Weeble
Jeez, it's called direct deposit. :rolleyes:
I know, come on! :rolleyes:

and it was probably credit card bills, too.
 

kidsmd

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Hmmm... makes me wonder if it really was overdue bills or some other thing he can't really say..... i mean, who leaves to go pay a bill. There's just something that seems totally weird about it.
 

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Originally posted by vixen
I think its ridiculous...the patient def has all the right for a lawsuit, I'd do the same thing! :mad:
Look, what the guy did was definitely foolish and wrong. But thats not enough for a med malpractice lawsuit. The patient would have to prove that he suffered great harm as a result of the doctor leaving to go to the bank; I see no such evidence that the patient was harmed.
 
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MacGyver

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Originally posted by CyclinE
I think that the patient does have a case against the surgeon. He is permitted to sue for neglect. I understand that the risk of surgical complication increases with length of the operation when the patient is under general anesthetic. He was endangering the patient's life by keeping him under for an unnecessarily long period of time.
Thats true, but unless the patient can prove he suffered physical injury as a result of him leaving the hospital, he has no case. simple as that.
 

kaos

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Originally posted by MacGyver


Thats true, but unless the patient can prove he suffered physical injury as a result of him leaving the hospital, he has no case. simple as that.
As angry as I am about this, I'm sorry I have to agree. Without injury, he's got no physical evidence supporting his case. They could probably say that the doctor knew what he was doing, no matter how horrendous his actions.

+pissed+
 

MandM06

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Originally posted by MustafaMond
I know surgeons that break scrub to have a smoke, or to take a break, if they need one. these usually last close to 30 min...

It's true that this has been happening for years, but it has been kept under the rug. A resident told me that doctors usually just get dismissed from the hospital or given "verbal" warnings.

It just makes you go HMMMMMMMMM..........:confused:
 

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The surgeon used bad jundgement plain and simple. I worked as a surgery assistant sophomore year of college and I had to run all kinds of errands for surgeons (ie getting them food, checking on a phone call.,one time i got to drive his benz) I just don't understand how you canleave your patient in the OR. TSK TSK
 

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Ways this could have been avoided:

1. Not having overdue bills in the first place
2. Being willing to go deposit it after the surgery
3. Being willing to wait one more day to pay them
4. Automatic debit
5. Depositing check through phone (what I do)

Does anyone know the cheese metaphor? To make a mistake, you have to make so many mistakes that no procedural redundancies catch it? (You have to line up the cheese so it goes through all the holes. Usually, if it goes through one hole, something else will miss it.)

Meth. Not even once.
 
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bannie22

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If it was a resident
1) tons of overdue bills
2) bank would have closed
3) see #2


Im a little surprised this was an issue tho because it is pretty common place for the attending to not be present.
The media could have easily sensationalized that the other MD was not sufficiently skilled
 

edmadison

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An almost 15 year necrobump. We may need a new name -- paleobump? Is that a record?

Ed
 
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fball22

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Ways this could have been avoided:

1. Not having overdue bills in the first place
2. Being willing to go deposit it after the surgery
3. Being willing to wait one more day to pay them
4. Automatic debit
5. Depositing check through phone (what I do)

Does anyone know the cheese metaphor? To make a mistake, you have to make so many mistakes that no procedural redundancies catch it? (You have to line up the cheese so it goes through all the holes. Usually, if it goes through one hole, something else will miss it.)

Meth. Not even once.
Phone deposits didn't exist in 2002.
 

SpartanWolverine

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If anyone is curious (I know you probably aren't), I looked up whatever happened to this surgeon. Apparently he had a huge meth addiction, wound up losing his medical license, and did a stint in federal prison :eek:

For a fallen surgeon, a higher power - The Boston Globe
Turns out his dire financial straits were due to his meth addiction.

And, apparently, he really messed up that surgery (though even if he made no surgical mistakes I'm sure any adverse outcome could be blamed on his absence).
After his 35-minute bank run, Arndt had returned to complete the surgery on Algeri. But it was so badly botched that Algeri would have to undergo two more by another surgeon the following year. He’s still not right. Algeri’s right leg had been his good one, but since Arndt operated on him, he’s had no feeling from the knee down. In 2004, Arndt’s insurer paid Algeri $1.25 million...
 
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Wait a minute, are you guys actually vouching for him here? I mean look at what he did. He left a person open on the table with an imcompetant MD. I mean what does that say about where his priorities are. Oh this is just another HUMAN BEING!! he/she can wait while I get some more impt stuff done. All that to freaken save the money for the fine for a late payment???? Granted he didnt hurt the patient, but helloooooooooooooooooo!! That is a person, imagine if that was your mom, or dad or anyone close to you. The MD has no respect whatsoever for his patient. Medicine is getting more and more reductionistic every day! It was a person onthe Operating table and not some diseased organ!! Im sorry, but that article really upset me.
I've shadowed surgeons that let other docs finish suturing and stuff after the "main" portion is done. I agree that it was incredibly irresponsible of him to take care of personal matters during work, but I doubt he left the patient out of malignant negligence. He probably just felt that the other doc was qualified to finish the procedure. I'm not taking his side, just saying that discussing the situation is better than witchhunting him.

Edit: I'm really sorry, I should check dates of posts and read further before commenting. So sorry! I hate these stupid necrobumps.
 

Arndts patient

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I bet homie just had a simple case of "god complex" and didnt really think that what he was doing was a big deal.

I know surgeons that break scrub to have a smoke, or to take a break, if they need one. these usually last close to 30 min...

The funny thing is that , I dont think the patient even has a malpractice case, because there was no damage done by the surgeon.

He does, however, show a remarkably bad judgement, and it is good that they booted his ass.
I don't who you THINK you are but ill tell you who I am....the patient who was left on the table while this MORON went to cash his check to but MORE meth...I'm the guy who had 2 more surgeries to repair the mess he made inside my lower back...example...he put a 4 inch screw THRU my vertebrae...he crushed a GOOD nerve that runs down my right leg to my foot...I haven't felt that foot , even with 2 surgeries , since the day after the original surgery... I'm the guy who's STILL in pain EVERY DAY... for a doctor right ??? Get your facts straight before you start accusing me of running a scam...
 
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Lucca

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Closing old thread
 
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