A plastic surgeon is facing investigation by California’s medical board after he attended a traffic court hearing via video conference while apparently operating on a patient.
“I’m in an operating room right now. I’m available for trial. Go right ahead,” Dr. Scott Green, wearing blue scrubs, a surgical mask and hat, told a courtroom clerk while machines beeped around him, The Sacramento Bee first reported.
Video of the hearing shows a clerk informing Green that the session was being livestreamed on YouTube, which Green said he understood and suggested they proceed.
But the presiding judge, Sacramento Superior Court Commissioner Gary Link, wasn’t on board.
“Unless I’m mistaken, I’m seeing a defendant that’s in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient. Is that correct, Mr. Green?” Link asked.
“Yes, sir,” Green responded.
“I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient,” Link said, announcing his decision to postpone Green’s court session to another date. This was against Green’s protests; he said there was another surgeon with him who was capable of performing the surgery as backup if needed.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate. I’m going to come up with a different date, when you’re not actively involved or participating and attending to the needs of a patient,” Link said.
Green responded, before being cut off by Link: “I apologize, Your Honor, to the court. Sometimes, surgery doesn’t always go as — ”
“We want to keep people healthy, we want to keep people alive. That’s important,” Link said.
Green, reached by NBC News, called The Sacramento Bee’s report about the incident “not accurate,” though he did not specify how and instead ended the call.
A spokesperson for the Medical Board of California told HuffPost that it is aware of the incident and is looking into it. The board “expects physicians to follow the standard of care when treating their patients,” said spokesman Carlos Villatoro.
Green is not the first to make headlines over an eyebrow-raising video appearance, as the pandemic has opened up a new frontier for teleconferencing.
Earlier this month, a Texas lawyer went viral after he appeared before a judge with a Zoom filter on that made him look like a cat.
Shortly before that, another Sacramento County Superior Court saw a defendant appear from a barbershop chair.