You don’t see this every day: Two top neurosurgeons at prestigious North Shore University Hospital were suspended for two weeks after abandoning a patient that had been prepped for brain surgery, had her head shaved, and been anesthetized.
According to New York’s Daily News, Thomas Milhorat, the hospital’s chief of neurosurgery, as well as his colleague, Paolo Bolognese, were suspended for two weeks starting April 17th after abandoning the patient on April 10th.
The paper reports that Milhorat earned $7.2 million in 2007 — the biggest surgeon salary in the New York area — and Bolognese made $2.4 million. (When doctors complain about the expense of malpractice premiums, their income is oddly omitted from the stories.)
The suspension conduct is remarkable because the medical community has a long history of covering up malfeasance. I’ve written before about the White Coat of Silence that prevents this type of information from coming out. (See also: How Medical Malpractice Gets Covered Up, and “They killed my patient. Then they tried to hide it.”)
But, as I’ve also noted a number of times, there are now appearing to be cracks in the knee-jerk philosophy of covering up, as shown in A Tale of Two Hospitals: One Covers-Up and One Apologizes.
Whether these anecdotes turn out to be part of a trend, or aberrations, we will know only with the passage of time.