Woman Sues Surgeon For Talking On His Phone During Operation

Considering the fact that medical errors are a leading cause of death in the United States, distractions should not be part of a surgeon's routine.

Doctor perform surgery on patient.

A woman from New York City claims her doctor was distracted while performing a surgery on her, and now, she’s suing him and his employer.

Mary Edwards, 70, says that surgeon Dr. Eric Fishman used his phone in the middle of an operation to fix her varicose veins so he could practice his Spanish. When he was questioned about his conduct, he said he was just using his “free” time to take a “language proficiency exam.”  

“Dr. Fishman further explained to Ms. Edwards that he operates on Spanish-speaking clients, and as such, he needs to be certified in the Spanish Language,” the lawsuit explains.

However, Edwards claims the phone call in Spanish wasn’t the only time Fishman used his phone while operating on her.

Edwards was subject to general anesthesia for the surgery but claims that she remained aware of what was happening in her surroundings. She says the doctor took several calls, including one in which he discussed his diabetes and another in which he talked about breast milk.

The suit filed against Fishman and the Westmed Medical Group explains that rules imposed by the American College of Surgeons prohibit doctors from using their cellphone while in surgery.

As it turns out, it’s nearly impossible to argue that the doctor had any right to use his phone to resolve or discuss other matters while operating on a patient. After all, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s only natural for a patient to become scared once she notices her doctor is too busy with other affairs to pay attention to the operating table.

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