Boston Surgeon Fined for Leaving Patient on Table Mid-Operation to Take Nap

A surgeon in Boston was slapped with a $5,000 fine while being allowed to continue working after having left a patient on an operating table receiving emergency ankle surgery so that he could take a nap in his car.

Dr. Tony Tannoury is 54 years old and is the head of spine surgery at Boston Medical Center. In order to continue his practice, Tannoury will need to complete five further training sessions, but it should be noted that he will continue to work without suspension or mandated leave. He has worked as the head of spinal surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine since 2006.

Hours after falling asleep, Tannoury called the hospital, but was told that a chief resident performed the operation instead. The surgery was a success despite his absence and Dr. Tannoury did not return to work until the following day, according to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

This moment of neglect occurred back in November of 2016 and was reported to the state board a couple months after the fact, which resulted in an investigation. The board later concluded that Tannoury ‘engaged in conduct that undermines the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession.’ In addition to receiving the $5,000 fine, Tannoury was ordered to complete five continuing education credits in ‘professionalism’ and must also review regulations for supervising residents, the Globe reported.

The hospital was transparent with the patient about what had occurred, in addition to who ultimately performed the procedure. All fees connected with the operation were waived

Dr. James Rickert, President of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, shared with the Glove that Tannoury’s actions were ‘egregious’ and feels the small fine he had to pay simply wasn’t adequate. ‘That’s just the proverbial slap on the wrist,’ he said.

Notably, this wasn’t the first time Tannoury had been reprimanded for his job performance. He signed a consent order last month that shared he had previously received a written reprimand from the hospital for violating its policy requiring surgeons to be present for critical parts of operations.

Furthermore, in 2015, the Boston Globe shared that Tannoury would sometimes run simultaneous operating rooms at once, which is a policy that Boston Medical Center only discontinued after this in-depth report. They insisted that the simultaneous operations did not compromise the safety of any of the patients at the time.

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