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Lawmaker fined for videoconferencing from operating room


A Maryland state lawmaker who is a plastic surgeon has been fined $ 15,000 and reprimanded for twice attending legislative meetings by video conference from an operating room during surgery.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A Maryland state lawmaker who is a plastic surgeon has been fined $ 15,000 and reprimanded for twice attending legislative meetings by video conference from an operating room for a surgical intervention.

Of the. Terri Hill this month signed a consent order accepting disciplinary action from the Maryland Board of Physicians, which found the Democratic lawmaker guilty of “unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine.”

The board noted that Hill participated in a House committee voting session while appearing in a video feed wearing “surgical gown, mask and surgical cap.”

During Maryland’s legislative session this year, legislative committee meetings were held by video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The public was able to broadcast the meetings and hearings live.

“She was positioned under the surgical lights, focused down, and sometimes moved around, reaching out for surgical instruments or adjusting lights,” the council report said, noting that the surgeon and other staff of the operating room “sometimes moved surgical equipment and blood stains to the towels so that they were briefly visible on the video stream.

In a statement Friday night, Hill said she has worked hard to meet her professional obligations to her patients and constituents during the pandemic – a balance that has been difficult at times.

“I accept the board’s decision that I could have done better,” Hill wrote in a texted statement.

The board of directors received a complaint in March after someone cited a newspaper article in the Baltimore Sun about appearances by the committee of lawmakers from the operating room. The council opened an investigation later in the month.

In April, Hill told a disciplinary panel that she attended two committee meetings by video conference, once in February to testify for less than three minutes on a bill she was sponsoring and again in March. She said that before the surgeries, each patient “gave her permission” to join the meetings.

In its findings of fact posted on its website, the council cited documents that show Hill performed major abdominal surgery on one of the patients in February – and that the patient’s preoperative consent forms do not document the consent. or advice regarding Hill’s participation in a legislative committee during operation. The patient did not recall being asked about his attendance at a legislative committee meeting via video conference, according to the council report.

“Patient 1 also said that it was a bit awkward that attention was diverted from her during the operation,†the board report said.

In an interview in May with board staff, Hill said she told the patient that she may need to “take a call” during the operation. Asked about the patient’s inability to remember the conversation, Hill said, “There’s a lot going on, getting the patient to the hospital, getting them to the operating room. I’m sure she was nervous, â€the board report said.

In the March case, records cited by council indicated the patient had undergone major abdominal and back surgery – and preoperative forms do not document consent or advice. However, the patient reported to the board’s disciplinary committee that Hill told her about the committee meeting 10 minutes before the operation began and that she consented to Hill’s participation.

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