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Westchester Woman Sues Surgeon For Alleged Cell Phone Use During Operation

The Westmed Medical Group office.
The Westmed Medical Group office. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

A woman is suing a Westchester surgeon for “severe emotional distress” following an operation, while she was fully cognizant, where the doctor spoke of blurred vision and having diabetes during a cell phone conversation.

Mary Edwards of Port Chester has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Eric Fishman and Westmed Medical Group after undergoing a pair of surgeries to fix a varicose vein, during the second of which, he had a conversation over an unsterilized phone and allegedly took a Spanish proficiency examination, according to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court.

During the first surgery on April 21, it is alleged that Edwards was under local anesthesia, but cognizant during the operation. During that surgery, the lawsuit alleges that another individual came into the room to discuss a different patient.

“Even though the other person said that Dr. Fishman appeared busy and would talk to him later, Dr. Fishman said he could talk to the other person about another patient during the operation,” the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Fishman told Edwards that she would require a follow-up surgery, which was to be conducted on Sept. 29. During that operation - which was slated to last between 30 and 35 minutes - Fishman allegedly commenced a conversation on a cell phone while Edwards was again under a local anesthesia, but cognizant.

According to the lawsuit, during that conversation, Fishman spoke in both Spanish and English - which Edwards is fluent in. Fishman allegedly spoke about female breast milk, stated that he experienced night sweats, has diabetes and suffered from blurred vision.

“During the course of the operation and hearing the conversation that Dr. Fishman had over the cellular phone, Edwards suffered great panic and emotional distress,” according to Edwards’ lawyer, Mitchell Baker.

Following the second surgery, the lawsuit says that Fishman admitted to Edwards that he was taking a Spanish language proficiency exam to become certified and treat his other patients.

After the the operation, Fishman said he was taking a language proficiency examination so he could become certified in the Spanish language. He allegedly stated that the only time he could take the exam was at the time of the operation.

The lawsuit alleges that Fishman violated one or more recommendations from the American College of Surgeons regarding distractions in the operating room and recommended usage of cellphones in an operating room. It is further alleged that Fishman and two Westmed officials acknowledged that the surgeon operated inappropriately.

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