Plastic surgeon chooses to appear on screen in court while performing surgery.
The Medical Board of California said it would investigate a plastic surgeon who appeared on a video conference call for a traffic violation trial in Sacramento Superior Court, held virtually because of the pandemic, from an operating room during a patient’s surgery. Dr. Scott Green was dressed in scrubs with a patient, in the midst of operating.
“Hello, Mr. Green? Hi. Are you available for trial?” asked a courtroom clerk. “It kind of looks like you’re in an operating room right now.”
“I am, sir,” Dr. Green responded. “Yes, I’m in an operating room right now. Yes, I’m available for trial. Go right ahead.”
The clerk reminded Dr. Green the proceedings were being livestreamed, and the doctor confirmed he understood. He continued to work with his head down while waiting for Court Commissioner Gary Link to enter. Link then expressed concern for the welfare of the patient, stating, “Unless I’m mistaken, I’m seeing a defendant that’s in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient.”
“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 attempted to explain.
The judge said he didn’t think it was appropriate to conduct trial while Dr. Green was in the middle of a surgery. He told the physician he’d rather set a new date for trial “when you’re not actively involved or participating and attending to the needs of a patient.”
“Sometimes, surgery doesn’t always go as,” Dr. Green responded apologetically.
“It happens. We want to keep people healthy. We want to keep them alive. That’s important,” Link said.
“The Medical Board of California expects physicians to follow the standard of care when treating their patients,” Carlos Villatoro, a spokesperson for the board, said. “The board is aware of this incident and will be looking into it, as it does all complaints it receives.”
Last year, Patrick Van Thiel, a sovereign citizen and self-proclaimed naturopathic, was found to have lured many patients to his rundown trailer in Las Vegas, claiming to be a medical doctor. However, what they didn’t know was that Van Thiel was unlicensed to practice medicine and said he had learned everything he knew from watching YouTube videos. He found vulnerable patients on Craigslist and other listing sites, desperate for therapies that work after many failed attempts, and promised to help them.
An investigation into Van Thiel’s practice began after Las Vegas police received a tip from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. “Rick was a known sovereign citizen. He believed the government had no say over what he was doing in his day-to-day activities,” LVMPD Detective Ken, who refrained from using his last name, said, adding that such citizens are considered a domestic terrorism threat in southern Nevada.
Now that the pandemic has spread across the world, there is more day-to-day activities and meetings being streamed online. This could potentially increase the risk of negligence by those in the medical profession trying to multitask, such as Dr. Green, or the influx of fake medical professionals taking advantage of the internet.