The state Medical Examining Board imposed fines ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 on three doctors Tuesday, including $5,000 against a Greenwich neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong disc on a patient’s spine in 2011. Dr. Mark Camel, who is affiliated with Greenwich Hospital, discovered his error during spinal surgery on Oct. 27, 2011 and then operated on the correct disc. State investigators found that Camel admitted that he had written down the wrong spinal location during a pre-operative visit and neither he nor the patient noticed the error when signing consent forms, records indicated. When Camel was reviewing an MRI and preparing to close the patient, he noticed his mistake. Camel immediately reported his error and has put in place protocols to be sure such an error never happens again, records show. It was the second time in two months that the board had taken up “wrong site” incidents at Greenwich Hospital.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday imposed no disciplinary action against a Greenwich Hospital anesthesiologist who in 2010 administered a nerve block on the wrong arm of a patient who was about to undergo a wrist arthroscopy. Though a board hearing panel had concluded that the state had proven misconduct on the part of Dr. Paul Sygall, the board voted to change the word “misconduct” to “error” and imposed no disciplinary action. State records show the hearing panel considered Sygall’s “stellar professional record” in which he had performed 10,000 procedures and his credible testimony at a hearing and concluded that he posed to “no threat to public health and safety.”
DPH records showed the error occurred because a nurse had changed equipment to the opposite side of the patient while Sygall was out of the room. Sygall administered the nerve block on the wrong side, noticed the error right away, stopped the procedure and kept the patient overnight for observation, DPH records show. In recent years, the board has fined or reprimanded other physicians for similar errors. For example, in June 2011, the board approved a consent order fining Dr. David Heimbinder of Glastonbury $5,000 for administering a nerve block in the wrong shoulder of a patient in 2009.