Doc suspended for leaving patient in OR to go to bank

A Massachusetts doctor has been suspended for leaving a patient on the operating table so he could rush to the bank and deposit a paycheck.

The state board of medicine suspended David Arndt, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, saying he posed "an immediate threat to the public health, safety, and welfare" of patients. The doctor is accused of leaving in the middle of spinal surgery so he could make it to the bank before closing. The patient was left in the care of the rest of the surgical team and apparently did not suffer any adverse outcomes.

"In its Statement of Allegations, the Board charged that Dr. Arndt abandoned his anesthetized patient in the Mount Auburn Hospital operating room to go to a bank in Harvard Square during the surgery," the board wrote. Documents provided by the board indicate that the surgeon who remained with the patient was not qualified to complete the surgery, and that Arndt was gone for 35 minutes. After returning from his errand, Arndt, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, completed the surgery in a few hours. The patient was anesthetized the entire time.

According to the board’s Statement of Allegations against the doctor, Arndt explained that he was eager to deposit his paycheck because he had overdue bills to pay. The hospital suspended him the next day and reported the incident to the state board.