Major changes are underway at the state Medical Examining Board, in an attempt to reduce long delays in disciplining doctors. The state legislature recently expanded the board from 15 to 21 members to be able to hold hearings more quickly when complaints are filed against doctors. Two board members are now involved earlier in investigations, and physicians now must respond to investigations earlier in the process, said William Gerrish, spokesman for the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Also, the DPH plans to hire a consultant by the fall to conduct a full review of the way complaints against doctors are investigated and adjudicated, Gerrish said. Most visibly, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has also installed a new chairperson on the board, replacing Anne C. Doremus, a Manchester Republican, with Kathryn Emmett, a prominent Democrat and lawyer in Stamford who worked on Malloy’s transition team in 2010.
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.