While video conferencing has become the new normal during the pandemic, there is still an appropriate time and place for when one should take place—especially when it involves the welfare of a patient going under the knife.
This was the case when a plastic surgeon in California logged onto Zoom for a traffic court hearing while he was performing surgery.
Even though Dr. Scott Green told the Sacramento court he was available for the hearing, the judge remained unconvinced and rescheduled it for another day when the surgeon would not be in the operating room and actively working on a patient.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Green appeared before Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Gary Link's virtual courtroom at the Carol Miller Justice Center amid suction sounds and medical devices beeping.
With Green visibly donned in his scrubs as surgical lamps beamed overhead, the courtroom clerk asked:
"Hello, Mr. Green? Are you available for trial? It kind of looks like you're in an operating room right now?"
"I am, sir. Yes, I'm in an operating room right now. I'm available for trial. Go right ahead."
Uh...bad idea. https://t.co/j2LCJaG67T— Penni Peterson (@Penni Peterson)1614460700.0
The local news outlet noted traffic trials in the U.S. are required by law to be open to the public.
With most courtrooms remaining inaccessible due to the pandemic, the Sacramento Superior Court proceedings such as this one are live-streamed and posted on YouTube which you can see here:
After observing an occupied Green, the unamused commissioner said:
"Unless I'm mistaken, I'm seeing a defendant that is in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient."
"Is that correct, Mr. Green? Or should I say Dr. Green?"
"I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you're in the process of operating that I would put on a trial notwithstanding the fact the officer is here today."
However, Green tried to convince the commissioner he had assistance and was capable of multi-tasking.
"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."
... don't do this. I don't care how little respect you in fact have for the court. #notlegaladvice https://t.co/nPsNUHksvJ— Sara Perkins Jones (@Sara Perkins Jones)1614616698.0
@NBCNews His arrogance is amazing. It’s as if he thinks he is actually that important! It is too laughable. His poo… https://t.co/YCs7QIdYNp— Marti (@Marti)1614554778.0
@londyloo This is white male entitlement and arrogance. It just is.— JD “got vaccinated” Hughes, MD 🇺🇸 (@JD “got vaccinated” Hughes, MD 🇺🇸)1614471818.0
@londyloo What is wrong with him? what would that patient or their family think of being treated this way? How can… https://t.co/8Whvgf2hJo— Parivash Akhavan Sanders, DO (@Parivash Akhavan Sanders, DO)1614463569.0
@londyloo Imagine the poor circulating nurse holding the phone so he could pull this stunt.— Amy Lovato (@Amy Lovato)1614517751.0
But Link was having none of it.
"Not at all. I don't think so," said the judge.
"I don't think that's appropriate. I'm going to come up with a different date when you're not actively involved or participating in attending to the needs of a patient. Let me see if I can get a different date here."
I'm going to HOPE there's a license yanked over this. Doctor, scheduled for a traffic court appearance, joins it v… https://t.co/dCpDyauGs3— Chris Sandusky (@Chris Sandusky)1614526481.0
Green, who appeared to be engaged in the procedure on the patient who remained out of view, said:
"I apologize, Your Honor, to the court. Sometimes, surgery doesn't always go as—"
"It happens. We want to keep people healthy, we want to keep them alive. That's important."
"I'm concerned about the welfare of the patient based on what I'm seeing."
A new date for Green's hearing was scheduled for March.
@NBCNews If he isn't disciplined I'm going to lose a lot of respect for the medical community. I hope the person wh… https://t.co/rW4Kan3Xzr— Tracey 👽 (@Tracey 👽)1614556130.0
@NBCNews Some people are just so stupid. I guess common sense is not taught at medical school.— Itisme (@Itisme)1614557919.0
@NBCNews I would sue him for malpractice! Revoke his license immediately— The future Mrs..... (@The future Mrs.....)1614555477.0
@londyloo Gross. Hope the patient goes after him hard regardless of his state medical association’s investigation.… https://t.co/T4ATpeKuOS— Quinn James (@Quinn James)1614521291.0
The Medical Board of California caught wind of the bizarre interaction and said they were looking into the concerning incident.
A spokesperson said:
"The Medical Board of California (Board) expects physicians to follow the standard of care when treating their patients. The Board is aware of this incident and will be looking into it, as it does with all complaints it receives."
Green has not responded to requests for comment.