Doctor Sleeps Through Surgery

Boston surgeon ate in his car, then nodded off
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2021 4:31 PM CDT
Doctor Fined for Sleeping Through Surgery
Stock photo of an operating room.   (Getty/MJ_Prototype)

A wait for a doctor can be long, but it was especially painful for a patient needing emergency ankle surgery at Boston Medical Center. The patient had been taken into an operating room by two doctors, one of whom then said he had to eat first. He left, went to his car to eat, and fell asleep, USA Today reports. It was the next day before Dr. Tony Tannoury, a spinal surgeon, returned. And this was before the pandemic.

It happened in November 2016, per WBZ, and Tannoury, 54, is just now being disciplined. He's been fined $5,000 and ordered by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine to complete five continuing education credits in professionalism. He also has to review regulations for supervising residents. Medical officials gave several reasons for the slow response time. One evidently is that no real harm was done. "The patient was notified of the situation, and the surgical outcome was positive," a spokesperson for the hospital said. A resident performed the surgery without the oversight of Tannoury.

Also, no complaints were made about Tannoury's work in the five years since he left the patient waiting in the operating room. He's the director of spine services at Boston Medical Center and also teaches orthopedic surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine. The board said Tannoury "engaged in conduct that undermines the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession," per the Boston Globe. The hospital also reprimanded him, per WBTS. Tannoury has had his Massachusetts medical license since 2005. (More operating room stories.)

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