A plastic surgeon who had previously been fined $29,000 for sloppy record-keeping and rusty and dirty equipment at his Westport clinic was fined $10,000 on Tuesday by the state Medical Examining Board in connection with a 2009 rhinoplasty procedure. Dr. Joel B. Singer also had his medical license placed on probation for two years. Under the memorandum of decision approved by the board, Singer must hire a licensed physician to monitor his practice and take courses in medical ethics, informed consent and medical record keeping. Singer’s lawyer, Mary Alice Moore Leonhardt of Hartford, had strongly objected in writing to the penalty, calling it “harsh,” “draconian” and inconsistent with recent penalties the board had imposed on other doctors. “The material facts of whether [Singer] can practice with skill and safety are not in issue and have never been an issue,” Leonhardt wrote.
A Westport plastic surgeon who is on probation and was fined $29,000 in 2011 has had his center’s license temporarily suspended after state inspectors found several new violations, including rusty equipment and instruments and a fire alarm system that had not worked for five months. Under a June 20 consent order with the state Department of Public Health, Dr. Joel B. Singer agreed to the suspension of the license of his Center for Ambulatory Surgery in Westport through July 29. The order states that the violations “may pose a health risk to the public.”
During surprise inspections between March 21 to 28, inspectors found a rusty autoclave used to sterilize instruments, rusty instruments, an unlocked refrigerator containing medications and worn-out brushes being used to clean instruments, records show. Donna M. Ortelle of DPH’s Facility Licensing and Investigations Section, outlined the violations in a June 4 letter to Singer. Diana Lejardi, a DPH spokeswoman, said that the center will be able to provide more information if it wants to dispute the findings.