A New York woman sued a doctor for allegedly using his cellphone to take a language test while operating on her, and what he said had her “petrified,” her lawyer said.
Mary Edwards, 70, of Port Chester, filed a lawsuit on Monday in the state Supreme Court seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Edwards, who was having a surgery on a varicose vein, was under local anesthesia so she was aware of what was going on while Dr. Eric Fishman operated on her at Westmed Medical Group.
According to multiple reports, Edwards had a conversation in Spanish on his cellphone during the second outpatient procedure. Mitchell Baker, Edwards’ lawyer, said his client is fluent in English and Spanish and could understand what the doctor was saying.
And she was “petrified” the entire time.
Court documents state Edwards overheard him tell the person on the other end that he suffers from night sweats, diabetes and blurred vision, ABC7 reported.
“She was in absolute terror during the operation,” Baker told The Journal News. “She had no clue what was going on until after.”
Fishman claimed he was taking an oral Spanish proficiency test, and the only time he had to schedule the exam was during the surgery.
The lawsuit claims Edwards suffered emotional distress, describing Fishman’s behavior as “beyond all possible bounds of decency.”
According to the lawsuit, a 2016 statement from the American College of Surgeons states using a cellphone in the operating room “may pose a distraction and may compromise patient care.”
A comment on the doctor’s page on Westmed’s website calls him “an excellent doctor.” It continues, “Thank you very much for having doctors of the human & personal quality of *Dr. Eric Fishman & speaks Spanish.”
Another comment reads, “*Dr. Eric Fishman saved my life along with his wonderful staff. God bless all of them.”
In a separate vein procedure performed earlier this year, the patient complained that Fishman discussed another patient with a colleague in front of her, according to ABC7.
A Westmed spokeswoman told The Journal and ABC7 that it “doesn’t comment on patient care or pending litigation,” citing privacy laws.