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Malpracticing Indian Doctor Gets a Minimal Penalty
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June 27, 2008, 08:12 PM
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Medical malpractice is always disturbing, but when the actions are as egregious as in this case, the punishment of a mere fine and two-year suspension is appalling. Is the minuscule discipline and lack of criminal prosecution because the perp is a foreigner?

Not only did Indian physician Santusht Perera remove the patient`s healthy lung, he lied about it and covered up his deadly malpractice.

Santusht Perera’s physician’s license was suspended after he removed of portions of the wrong lung during surgery and allegedly attempted to conceal the error.

Perera was issued a two-year suspension on June 5 from the State Board of Medical Examiners. The Board’s appellate court upheld the suspension in Perera’s appeal case with a final decision on June 12.

Perera told the patient, Richard Flagg, the right lung tissue, which was wrongfully removed, contained a life-threatening tumor even though he knew it did not.

He altered his records to show he intended to operate on the right lung even though he was actually supposed to remove the tumor in the left lung.
[Surgeon Suspended For Removing Wrong Lung, WNBC, New York, June 25, 2008]

That description leaves out details about the lengths to which Santusht Perera went to protect himself and misinform his patient. See New Jersey Moves to Strip License of Surgeon Who Removed Wrong Lung, Corporate Crime Reporter, June 8, 2005:

"I was pretty groggy when I woke up," Flagg told Corporate Crime Reporter in an extensive interview in March 2003. "It was the next day when most of the morphine wore off, that I felt a big bulk on my right side. And it hurt. The doctor came in that day, and I asked him – why did you operate on my right lung? And he said – while you were asleep, we did an x-ray and we found a much larger, a much more dangerous, tumor in your right lung, as well as severe hemorrhaging. By doing this operation, I probably saved your life, he said."

A total lie. A doctor interviewed by Fox News on Thursday said removing the good lung condemned Richard Flagg to death because the tumor on the infected lung left him with little breathing capacity.

Before his death, Flagg campaigned for patients` rights against irresponsible doctors and testified before Congress.

Immigrant MDs are another bad public policy area, where foreign medical students and residents get advantages that citizens do not, thereby discouraging Americans from pursuing the profession; see Immigrant Doctors Aren’t Necessary Either.

Interestingly, Indians continue to be obsessed by their expat countrymen, and this story was no exception. MSNBC has a special NRI edition—NRI being "Non-Resident Indians." The Times of India keeps an Indians Abroad page — such is the narcissistic fascination Indians have for themselves. They expect NRIs to refrain from assimilation and bring honor to Mother India by gaining first-world accomplishment with lots of effusive press coverage. And these are "model" immigrants.