Very high on the list of things I do NOT want to happen during surgery is having my surgeon fall asleep. That’s apparently what happened last summer in Massachusetts, according to an article in the Boston Globe. Here are excerpts:
When Dr. Loren J. Borud began his first case at about 8 a.m., an operating room nurse noticed he looked tired and wobbly. She was so concerned, according to one account of the Friday last June, that she suggested Borud postpone his next patient.
Borud said he had been up all night working on a book, but he kept operating, starting a second case, during which he briefly fell asleep, according to a report from state investigators. The nurse again called him aside and suggested “maybe he should take a break,” according to her interviews with investigators, but he continued the surgery.
The patient, Michael K. Hicks of Quincy, has said he suffered complications after liposuction surgery and repair of a scar on his chest, and in July he sued the hospital, six doctors including Borud, and two nurses. He has settled his case; the terms are confidential.
Dr. Kenneth Sands, senior vice president of healthcare quality at the hospital, said in an interview yesterday that, in retrospect “we wish [staff] had acted more quickly.” He said he would not comment on the details of the state’s report because the hospital had not fully reviewed it.
State investigators said the hospital did not treat the patient appropriately after his surgery, either. Hicks was not assessed by a physician before he was discharged that night, and hospital administrators did not tell Hicks that Borud had to abandon his operation, and why, until 10 days after the surgery. The operation lasted seven hours, rather than the 90 minutes Hicks said Borud had estimated it would take.
Last summer, the hospital fired Borud and the state temporarily suspended his license.