Do not [allegedly] assault the nurses. A former nurse at a surgery center affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is suing an ophthalmologist who, she alleges, pushed her out of an operating room. Surveillance video shows what happened.

An article in Modern Healthcare says the doctor then grabbed the nurse’s arm and told her he could do it because he knew she liked abuse.

The nurse’s lawyer said his client was punished with a transfer and a decrease in her work hours leading to her eventual resignation. Cedars-Sinai declined to say whether the doctor had been disciplined.

A surgeon at a Long Island, New York hospital, angry because a nurse gave one of his patients a dose of medicine at the wrong time, allegedly took a drawstring from his sweatshirt and wrapped it around her neck. As reported by Outpatient Surgery, the complaint says the surgeon, while choking her, told her he should kill her for what she did.

He was arrested and charged with strangulation and assault. Whether he was sanctioned for wearing a hoodie in the OR is unknown.

Updated on 2/28/18: After two witnesses said the alleged assault did not occur, the charges against the Long Island surgeon were dropped at the request of the assistant district attorney handling the case. For more details see this Medscape story.

Do not carve your initials in the organs of patients you are operating on. Simon Bramhall, a surgeon in Birmingham, England was £10,000 for using an argon beam coagulator to carve his initials on the organs of two different patients while they were undergoing surgery. He pleaded guilty to one of the two charges and said he did it to relieve stress in the operating room [not an accepted method of relieving stress].

The offenses were discovered when the patients were re-operated on by other surgeons. While the carving did no physical harm to the patients, the prosecution maintained “it was done with the disregard to the patients’ feelings while they were under general anesthetic.”

Liver transplant surgeon Bramhall is awaiting a decision by the General Medical Council about whether he will lose his medical license.

Do not help a man sell his wife’s kidney without her knowledge. A man in India was upset about what he thought was an inadequate wedding dowry given to him by his wife’s family 12 years ago. When his wife complained of abdominal pain, he took her to a hospital where she was told she needed an emergency appendectomy. She underwent surgery the next day.

Her husband told her not to tell anyone about the operation and kept her at home for several months. Her abdominal pain worsened and moved to her lower back, but her husband would not let her see a doctor. Finally, some of her relatives took her to a medical center where doctors discovered her left kidney was infected, and her right kidney was missing.

She complained to the police who arrested her husband and his brother and charged them with “commercially trading human organs and detaining a woman with criminal intent.” The woman says her husband sold her kidney because of the dowry issue. He confessed to selling the kidney but said she had consented to the procedure. She says she was drugged and does not recall signing anything.

The story, published in the Washington Post and other sources, does not say whether the surgeons or the hospital involved in this bizarre incident have been charged. They should be.



Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 8 years, he has been blogging at and tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,000,000 page views, and he has over 18,000 followers on Twitter.