A report by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has determined that a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New Yorkfrequently smacked the rear ends of sedated patients. While the report doesn’t mention the doctor by name, a report by Syracuse.com determined that it is Dr. Michael T. Clarke, an orthopedic surgeon, who stands accused of patient abuse.
In their report, Syracuse.com writes that the New York State Health Department spoke with 13 St. Joe’s employees who had worked alongside Dr. Clarke. 11 of those 13 staff members said, “the surgeon sometimes slapped patients and eight said he used sexually explicit language during OR (operating room) cases.” Additionally, “Three staff members told investigators the doctor called patients names, such as ‘fat ___ ,’ while slapping them hard. One staffer described seeing the doctor ‘almost wind up’ to deliver the slap to a patient. Another said the slaps seemed to be done as a gesture to say ‘let's get this procedure going.’"
It should be noted that Dr. Clarke has an impressive resume, including an education at the University of Oxford, and several academic prizes and awards. His attorney, James Laniter , said in an email, “Although Dr. Clarke adamantly denies any wrongdoing on his part, he is not able to comment on the investigation during its pendency."
As worrisome as the alleged actions of Clarke are, the inaction of St. Joseph’s Hospital might be even more troublesome. It seems that the hospital might have known about the complaints against Clarke for over a year and did nothing about it. Because of this, St. Joe’s might be terminated from Medicare and Medicaid programs. The hospital released a statement today on the matter, which read, in part:
In late December, St. Joseph’s administrative leadership team became aware of an incident that involved inappropriate behavior by a physician in our operating rooms. This behavior involved actions and language which were offensive and did not uphold our mission of compassionate and reverent care. Once our team became aware of these issues, prompt action was taken to address them, and we worked closely with our physicians, nursing and support staff, as well as the Department of Health, to address these behaviors. Immediate disciplinary action was taken as soon as the physician behavior was brought to our attention...
As for Clarke, the Onondoga County District Attorney’s Office is investigating him for criminal conduct and has launched a grand jury investigation. Formore details on this matter, you should really give Syracuse.com’s report a full read.
More info: Syracuse.com