A British surgeon’s unusual surgical technique has landed him in hot water with the medical board.
Professor Ninian Peckitt, 63, was “erased” from a registry that recognizes licensed doctors in the UK. The medical board found that Peckitt was unfit to practice medicine after the surgeon punched a patient in the face 10 times while he was under anesthesia in the operating room.
British newspaper The Telegraph describes audible gasps from others present in the OR as the doctor smashed the patient in the face repeatedly with a closed fist “like a boxer” while operating on the patient’s fractured cheekbone.
The patient suffered an industrial accident and was recovering from facial surgery in hospital when he fell out of bed and fractured his cheekbone.
A dental surgeon who assisted the doctor in the operating room said she was “shocked” by the doctor’s unorthodox surgical technique.
She said Peckitt asked her to hold the patient’s head still while he punched him.
“He made his hand into a fist and he hit the patient in the face on the left side of his cheek,” Erica Rapaport told the medical board. “His hand was about six inches away. I think the first time he punched the patient I wasn’t holding the patient and it was then that I was instructed to do so by Prof Peckitt.”
Rapaport, an experienced dental surgeon herself, said she was too shocked to challenge Peckitt the first time he punched the patient.
“I understand generally it is nice not to have to make an incision, but I do not understand the uncontrolled nature of hitting someone. I didn’t challenge him at the time. I was too shocked.”
Rapaport said Peckitt asked her to falsify her surgical notes to show that he fixed the fracture using “external pressure” rather than hitting the patient.
She said: “Prof Peckitt asked me to write up the note and I felt very challenged by what he had just done. I asked him if he would write it and he said he would dictate the exact words for me to write down.”
She added: “He said ‘the left malar was adjusted by external pressure’. They were precisely his words. I particularly [didn’t want to] write the note because accurately I would have had to write ‘Prof Peckitt punched the patient to try and move the left zygoma’ and that’s not something I would have wanted to do.”
Despite the presence of witnesses in the Operating room, Peckitt has emphatically denied punching the patient.