The reporting's tabloid. But the story ...
The patient died after cosmetic surgery earlier this month. Yes, a nose job.
The doc then goes into hiding. The patient, Ms. Cregan was from Ireland leading the Irish Medical Council to express concern about the
lack of regulations governing the establishment and operation of cosmetic surgery clinics in Ireland.
So we wander over to New York's Physician Profiling System and we look up Dr. Michael Evan Sachs, license number 131958 (issued in 1977).
And we find one judgement from 2001 and 32 settlements from 1995 to 2003. All of the payments are "average" or "below average."
And in particular we look for any restrictions on this practice. Here's what we find, updated a mere five days before the surgery on Ms. Cregan:
Dr. Sachs shall be precluded from performing complex nasal procedures except when assisting, or assisted by, a surgeon who is either Board-Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. or Board-Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and who has completed a fellowship in facial-plastic surgery, and who has at least ten years of experience and expertise in performing such complex procedures. For purposes of this limitation, the term "complex nasal procedures" shall mean those requiring multiple operations (more than two planned procedures) and serial reconstructive procedures, include those involving congenital malformations. This limitation shall not preclude him from performing, without such assistance, routine nasal-septal procedures, including but not limited to routine nasoplasties, open rhinoplasties, and cartilage or synthetic grafts for structural and functional purposes.
We find the same text at the State's Office of Professional Conduct and we find that he did not contest the charge of negligence in a prior case nor challenge three years of probation. We also find the legal Consent Agreement (PDF) stipulating the restrictions on his practice and indicating negligence on multiple treatments of a single patient. It's legalese and not revealing. You try to imagine what's between the lines.
Neither regulatory oversight, nor professional colleagues, nor the threat of lawsuits and high liability premiums (which probably were considered just a part of doing business), prevented this loss. Yes, there might have been a prior condition (though, if so, it would have been nice to know wouldn't it). But even if that's the case, doesn't it seem like there might be a pattern here?
I can't help but be reminded of Ted, the co-pilot.