L.A surgeon allegedly left saw running on his break
LOS ANGELES- An orthopedic surgeon allegedly left an operation
room to make a phone call and go to the bathroom without turning off a cutting
tool running in a patient's back, state medical officials charged.
Dr. Fereydoune Shirazi also operated on patient's knees
while improperly using an instrument that enables the physician to monitor the
surgery on a TV screen, the Medical Board of California said.
Shirzi, 55, said in an interview with the Los Angeles
Times that he had done nothing improper.
The surgeon could lose his physician's license if an administrative
judge upholds the board's charges of gross negligence, incompetence and repeated
Les Williams, an investigator for the medical board, said
no patients were seriously injured by Shirazi, but "the potential was there
for some very serious...harm."
According to the board, Shirazi left the operating room
for 11 minutes to make a phone call and use the bathroom, in the midst of surgery
on a man's back in 1990.
Shirazi was using a cutting tool called a nucleotome, activated
by a foot pedal. When he left the room, he placed a sandbag on the pedal, which
kept the blades of the device rotating in the man's spinal column, the board
Shirazi told the Times he did forget to turn the
tool off but he said the patient was not at risk because the device is designed
only to cut away degenerated spinal disk tissue and cannot cut healthy tissue.
The nucleotome was shut off by an anesthesiologist, Shirazi
Shirazi blamed his problems with the medical board on Dr.
H. William Frank, a former chief of surgery at Simi Valley Hospital.
"Dr. Frank, personally, he is against me," Shirazi said.
"What he's saying is exaggerated and his opinion."
Frank said Shirazi's alleged ineptness prompted the hospital
to suspend his surgical privileges.
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