SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) - A surgeon is speaking out after a viral video showed him attending virtual traffic court from the operating room.
Dr. Scott Green, a plastic surgeon, said critics misunderstand what happened and what’s normal during such procedures.
He was doing a facelift when the traffic court called upon him on Zoom to address a speeding ticket.
“This was our last case. We were about halfway through it, through all the critical parts,” Green said.
Green answered the call from the operating room, having already handed the case over to a fellow he was training, another surgeon with five years of experience.
“The fellow was a fully graduated plastic surgeon who comes to learn something about our specialties,” he said.
When Court Commissioner Gary Link saw the doctor in a gown and obviously in the operating room, he called off the hearing, saying, “I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of the patient, if you are in the process of operating, that I would put on a trial.”
“To me, taking a call in the OR is something that occurs all the time - not a Zoom call to traffic court because I’ve never been to traffic court,” Green said.
The call streamed live to YouTube while the court carries out virtual hearings.
“This is a giant misunderstanding picked up by the internet, and it’s gone from bad to worse,” said Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Green’s attorney.
He said the question is whether the patient was ever compromised.
“We’ve already sent a pre-emptive statement explaining there was no patient safety issue. There was no confidentiality problem. I fully expect and anticipate the board will not have a problem with this,” Segal said.
Fellow doctors agree, taking calls or leaving the operating room is common, especially in cases that can last hours.
“When you’ve got two fully qualified, fully trained plastic surgeons in the room, one could actually leave and have a sandwich if he wanted to,” plastic surgeon Dr. Troy Adreasen said.
“He wasn’t doing that while operating. He was away from the table. At that point, he was just watching the fellow finishing the case,” said. Dr. Yona Barash, a general and oncological surgeon.
But from the outside looking in, as so many have on the now viral video, the doctor admits it would’ve been better to step out of the room.
“In hindsight, honestly, that would’ve been the simplest thing to do,” Green said.
As for that speeding ticket, he decided to pay the fine.
“To me, this has been a great outpouring of judgment followed by a great outpouring of love, and at the end of the day, the love is what I’m grateful for,” Green said.