Surgeon defends Zoom call in operating room

Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green made international headlines recently after a viral video showed the doctor participating in a virtual traffic court while in the operating room.Dr. Green is a partner at the Sacramento Plastic Surgery Center where he, and another surgeon, were in the middle of a facelift when his name was called at the Sacramento Superior Court’s virtual hearing.Green was on the schedule to contest a speeding ticket received in October along Highway 50. Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Gary Link noted the unusual setting 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.”Green responded that he was ready to proceed, but Link decided to set a new date.Since then there has been a public backlash against the veteran surgeon, with social media users, websites and news outlets reposting and publishing the video.”I wish the people that had reported on it, had spent more time looking into it first and understanding it before they cast judgment,” Green told KCRA 3 in his first interview since the incident went viral.Green said he was told his case could come up any time between 3 and 5 p.m. He had hoped to finish operating before then.”This was our last case, we were half-way through it, through all of the critical parts. The critical parts of that kind of case, which is a facelift, those parts actually go very quick in the beginning,” Green said. Green was not the only surgeon in the room. He trains surgery fellows throughout the year, passing along the knowledge he’s gained from more than two decades of operating.”Part of a fellowship training is allowing a surgeon to do those things that you deem they can do as well as you at that point,” Green said. He said he had already put his fellow to work wrapping up the case when he decided to take the call.”I was trying to give deference to the court and go through the formalities as quickly as possible so we could fix things as quickly as we could,” Green said.Attorney and physician Dr. Jeffrey Segal said the uproar in the media amounts to a misunderstanding of what really happens in the operating room every day.”In point of fact, surgeons have these types of encounters every day where they take a break, leave to go to the bathroom, they leave to eat a protein bar, check a biopsy. They only do it if it’s safe,” Segal said.Plastic surgeon Dr. Troy Adreasen, who trained with Green, agreed, “as long as patient confidentiality wasn’t breached, as long as there wasn’t a patient safety issue.””I don’t think we have much to talk about because this happens every day, in every operating room, in every single city in this country,” he said.General and oncological surgeon Yona Barash said he takes a variety of calls during surgery, even leaving the room to consult with fellow doctors or to take a break.”He wasn’t doing that while operating, he was away from the table at that point watching the fellow finish the case. He could have easily walked out of the room,” Barash said.A spokesperson for the California Medical Board said they were aware of what happened and were reviewing the incident but could not comment on whether a formal investigation had been launched and if any codes of conduct had been violated.While it certainly did not look good from a public perspective, Segal said he was confident there was no wrongdoing. “We’ve already sent a preemptive statement explaining why there is no patient safety issue, there is no confidentiality problem. I fully expect the board will not have a problem with this,” Segal said. In hindsight, Green said he could’ve handled the situation differently, stepping out of the room to take the call while his fellow finished the procedure.The doctor, who settled his speeding ticket by paying the fine earlier this week, says he has several takeaways from the social media outcry.”We are defined by those judgments we make and those decisions we make either to love and to care or not,” he said. “To me, this has been a great outpouring of judgment followed by a great outpouring of love. At the end of the day, the love is what I am grateful for.”

Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Green made international headlines recently after a viral video showed the doctor participating in a virtual traffic court while in the operating room.

Dr. Green is a partner at the Sacramento Plastic Surgery Center where he, and another surgeon, were in the middle of a facelift when his name was called at the Sacramento Superior Court’s virtual hearing.

Green was on the schedule to contest a speeding ticket received in October along Highway 50.

Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Gary Link noted the unusual setting 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.”

Green responded that he was ready to proceed, but Link decided to set a new date.

Since then there has been a public backlash against the veteran surgeon, with social media users, websites and news outlets reposting and publishing the video.

“I wish the people that had reported on it, had spent more time looking into it first and understanding it before they cast judgment,” Green told KCRA 3 in his first interview since the incident went viral.

Green said he was told his case could come up any time between 3 and 5 p.m. He had hoped to finish operating before then.

“This was our last case, we were half-way through it, through all of the critical parts. The critical parts of that kind of case, which is a facelift, those parts actually go very quick in the beginning,” Green said.

Green was not the only surgeon in the room. He trains surgery fellows throughout the year, passing along the knowledge he’s gained from more than two decades of operating.

“Part of a fellowship training is allowing a surgeon to do those things that you deem they can do as well as you at that point,” Green said. He said he had already put his fellow to work wrapping up the case when he decided to take the call.

“I was trying to give deference to the court and go through the formalities as quickly as possible so we could fix things as quickly as we could,” Green said.

Attorney and physician Dr. Jeffrey Segal said the uproar in the media amounts to a misunderstanding of what really happens in the operating room every day.

“In point of fact, surgeons have these types of encounters every day where they take a break, leave to go to the bathroom, they leave to eat a protein bar, check a biopsy. They only do it if it’s safe,” Segal said.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Troy Adreasen, who trained with Green, agreed, “as long as patient confidentiality wasn’t breached, as long as there wasn’t a patient safety issue.”

“I don’t think we have much to talk about because this happens every day, in every operating room, in every single city in this country,” he said.

General and oncological surgeon Yona Barash said he takes a variety of calls during surgery, even leaving the room to consult with fellow doctors or to take a break.

“He wasn’t doing that while operating, he was away from the table at that point watching the fellow finish the case. He could have easily walked out of the room,” Barash said.

A spokesperson for the California Medical Board said they were aware of what happened and were reviewing the incident but could not comment on whether a formal investigation had been launched and if any codes of conduct had been violated.

While it certainly did not look good from a public perspective, Segal said he was confident there was no wrongdoing.

“We’ve already sent a preemptive statement explaining why there is no patient safety issue, there is no confidentiality problem. I fully expect the board will not have a problem with this,” Segal said.

In hindsight, Green said he could’ve handled the situation differently, stepping out of the room to take the call while his fellow finished the procedure.

The doctor, who settled his speeding ticket by paying the fine earlier this week, says he has several takeaways from the social media outcry.

“We are defined by those judgments we make and those decisions we make either to love and to care or not,” he said. “To me, this has been a great outpouring of judgment followed by a great outpouring of love. At the end of the day, the love is what I am grateful for.”

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