The spinal surgeon, Tony Tannoury, was first reprimanded by Boston Medical Centre for falling asleep in his car in November 2016 – after taking the patient to the operating room.
Another surgeon was forced to step in for Dr Tannoury, in what authorities described in a ruling as “conduct that undermines the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession”.
According to The Boston Globe, the 54-year-old acknowledged his wrongdoing in a ruling by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) – details of which were made available on Monday.
BORIM reportedly fined Dr Tannoury $5,000 (£3,600) and ordered him to complete around 50 hours of retraining on “professionalism”. Its board is mostly composed of physicians, according to BORIM’s website.
Dr Tannoury must reportedly review regulations for procedures and dealing with patients, who under Massachusetts law, must be attended to for the main part of surgery.
A spokesperson for Boston Medical Centre told The Globe that it informed BORIM in January 2017 of Dr Tannoury’s rule breaking, but that a “number of factors” caused an almost five year delay to disciplinary action.
“That’s just the proverbial slap on the wrist,” said James Rickert, president of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, who said the five year wait was too long.
“I can’t believe that if that was a board composed mostly of patients that they wouldn’t have had a much harsher penalty.”
Dr Tannoury remains licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Maine, where he is also registered — and despite being at the centre of debates about surgeons carrying-out “dual” operations in recent years, according to The Globe.
The Independent has approached Boston Medical Centre for comment.
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