Heart Surgeon Left Patient on Table to Eat Lunch; Patient is Brain Dead

A lawsuit was filed on December 23rd claiming California cardiac surgeon, Dr. Parvaiz Chaudhry, left 72-year-old patient, Silvino Perez, on the operating table in April 2012 to attend a luncheon 30 minutes away. The family claims that this decision resulted in their loved one being left in a vegetative state.

According to the suit, Chaudhry left Perez on the operating table with his chest cavity open and ordered a physician’s assistant to finish the procedure, even though he wasn’t qualified to so do, according to ABC News.

When complications arose and Perez’s heart stopped, Chaudhry was summoned back to the operating room to finish the surgery. Fortunately, he managed to save Perez, however, by the time he got back into the operating room 45 minutes later, the damage to the patient was already done. Perez has been living his life in a vegetative state ever since.

Approximately one year after that devastating operation, Perez’s stepson, Cristobal ‘Cris’ Arteaga, received an anonymous phone call from a nurse who was in the operating room that day. The person told Arteaga what had happened. According to ABC News, the dates and medical details relayed by the informant matched Perez’s case and could not be a coincidence.

“It was awful to hear that,” Arteaga told ABC News. “What kind of monster is this, that would just walk out? I want people to know what kind of doctor he is. You go in there and you trust this individual with your life…”

Had Arteaga not received that phone call, Perez’s family would probably never have known what really happened.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, according to the Fresno Bee, who described Dr. Chaudhry as “one of the state’s busiest cardiac surgeons.”

A spokeswoman for Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where the operation took place, would not comment on active litigation, but told the newspaper that the hospital had implemented “improved safeguards with action plans that have been approved by the state…[and] continually trains and searches for ways we can improve our patient care and safety.”

Before his surgery, Perez was an active 72-year-old, Arteaga said. He could climb 30 feet up his trees to prune them himself, and if he didn’t answer his front door, Arteaga knew he could find his stepfather tinkering away at a project in the backyard.

In an interview with the California Department of Public Health as part of its investigation the unnamed doctor said he let the physician’s assistant do the closure to give her extra practice, even though it was above her hospital privileges, according to the report.

Perez has been in an acute care facility since he was released from the hospital.

Although it is risky to undergo any type of open heart surgery, having your surgeon leave to attend a luncheon while you are still cut open on the table is not one of the risks you would worry about!  Mr. Perez made it through the procedure, despite his complications and bleeding. If only his surgeon had stayed in the operating room until his chest wall was closed, he could have addressed Perez’s complications immediately and he would most likely be enjoying his life again today.

Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for more information.

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