A plastic surgeon in the United States is facing an investigation after being on a videoconference call about a personal matter in court while performing an operation in California.
Scott Green wore a surgical suit as he appeared from afar during his traffic violation trial in Sacramento Superior Court.
A patient undergoing a procedure is out of view, with medical machinery beeping in the background.
“Hello, Mr Green? Hi. Are you available for trial?” asks a courtroom clerk as an officer summoned to appear in trial raised her eyebrows.
“It kind of looks like you’re in an operating room right now?”
“I am, sir,” Dr Green replied.
“Yes, I’m in an operating room right now. Yes, I’m available for trial. Go right ahead.”
The secretary reminded Dr. Green that the proceedings were being streamed live because by law traffic trials must be open to the public and the surgeon said he understood.
He appeared to continue working with his head down while he waited for Court Commissioner Gary Link to enter the room.
When Mr. Link appeared and saw the doctor on the screen, the judge hesitated to proceed with the trial out of concern for the patient’s health.
“I have another surgeon right here who’s doing the surgery with me, so I can stand here and allow them to do the surgery also,” Dr Green said.
The judge said he did not think it was appropriate to proceed with a trial in the cases.
He told Dr Green that he’d rather set a new trial date “when you’re not actively involved or involved and responsive to the patient’s needs”.
Dr. Green apologized, saying that “sometimes, surgery doesn’t always go the way it should…” before the judge interrupted him.
“It happens. We want to keep people healthy, we want to keep them alive. That’s very important,” Mr. Link said.
The California Medical Board announced it would review the case, saying it “expects physicians to follow a standard of care when treating their patients”.
A call seeking comment from Dr. Green was not returned.
A large number of trials are conducted remotely in California due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of nearly 52,000 people in the nation’s most populous state.