It's unbelievable. A heart surgeon, who is practicing today, has a history of walking out on patients in the middle of open heart surgeries, according to a hospital administrator who filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The lawsuit follows a state report which found that a 72 year old patient is in a persistent vegetative state after the surgeon failed to close his chest cavity and told an unqualified physician assistant to finish the surgery. The doctor reportedly went out to lunch.
Allegations in the patient and whistleblower lawsuits point to alcohol abuse and repeated misconduct by the physician covered up by the hospital.
If ever there was a poster child for the need for patient safety reform, we think it is Dr. Pervaiz Chaudhry and Community Regional Medical Center.
Consumer Watchdog wrote the state's Attorney General and medical board calling for an immediate investigation and suspension of Dr. Chaudhry's license.
How can the public feel safe about its medical care if heart surgeons are free to go to lunch before finishing open heart surgeries, then face no significant consequences when caught?
This shocking case brings into clear focus why voters should have the opportunity to improve patient safety laws, including mandatory drug testing of doctors and restoring legal deterrence to wrongdoing. Within the next two weeks, we will turn in more than 800,000 signatures to qualify the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act for the November ballot so California voters can weigh in against the callous disregard of patients the situation in Fresno demonstrates so clearly.
The physician peer review system failed to discipline Dr. Chaudhry and even to report him to the proper authorities. The hospital has been unwilling to acknowledge a deficiency documented by the state that led to the tragic fate of one patient. Only due to whistleblowers are we beginning to have a view of what appears to be a poster child case for the failure of doctor discipline in California.