Dr. Lisa Wollman, a former anesthesiologist at Mass. General has filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that surgeons at the hospital who simultaneously handled two or more surgeries defrauded the government. They did so, she alleges, by submitting bills for surgeries at times they were not in the operating rooms for critical portions of the procedures by leaving the work for unsupervised residents.
Dr. Wollman’s COMPLAINT states that she witnessed surgeons performing simultaneous surgeries between 2010-2015. They never informed the patients they were doing more than one surgery at a time. “The procedures did not merely overlap on their margins, they were instead scheduled at or about the same time, making it impossible for the teaching physician to assure that he could be physically present and ready to participate in the key or critical parts of each surgical procedure,” the Complaint states. These included high risk procedures including total shoulder replacement, cervical, lumbar and spine surgeries.
In any cases this meant that “an unwitting patient was left fully anesthetized- unconscious, paralyzed, intubated, dependent on a ventilator to breathe for longer than medically necessary, often in the care of trainees, without the backup of a properly qualified surgeon, despite legal requirements,” says the Complaint. Dr. Wollman further said that on one Friday after Thanksgiving, she was aware of one trauma surgeon who scheduled three concurrent surgeries. “One of the three patients was a young woman who was having a simple removal of hardware in her foot…During her surgery, she experienced cardiac arrest requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation and transfer to the intensive care unit. Meanwhile, the other two patients in the other rooms were under anesthesia with no attending surgeon.”
Dr. Wollman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx New York. She is the sole contributing author of several peer-reviewed published papers and book chapters in anesthesiology.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. He does not represent Dr. Wollman however.