YORK, Maine (AP) — A Maine hospital broke federal rules when it allowed two improperly licensed doctors to participate in surgeries last year, inspectors found.
In one instance in August, a woman who was having a cesarean section birth requested that her father, a trained doctor, join her in the operating room, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The father wasn't licensed to practice in Maine and hospital administrators “were not positive that he held a valid medical license,” according to a report by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The father assisted with the operation, according to the report. He was also the first to hold the infant after the operation was complete.
The hospital reported the situation to federal authorities two days later. Both the anesthesiologist and surgeon who carried out the operation later accepted fault for allowing the woman’s father to participate.
Though the patient asked for her father to be present, the situation created confusion, according to the report. A worker texted a supervisor “with concerns about an unknown individual scrubbing in to assist” the surgeon. And a nurse wrote in the medical record that the father was a “Surgeon Assist," while the surgeon wrote in another record that there were no assistants present.
The surgeon admitted the mistake in an interview with an inspector and said that two years earlier a father had been in the operating room for a child's birth and she thought there'd be no issue. "In my mind, the father had a medical license and he did the same as a student would do. I’m 100% responsible,” she said.
Per federal requirements, the hospital filed a corrective plan in November that outlined new policies to prevent similar violations from occurring again.
The hospital acknowledged the violation, but said clinical staff prioritized the patient's safety and wishes and no harm was caused.
The hospital was first sanctioned in March when the state found a vascular surgeon operated on a patient despite not being licensed to practice in Maine. The federal report did not outline what happened in the March case.