Professor Ninian Peckitt, 63, is under fire this month after the facial surgeon shocked colleagues by asking another doctor to hold the head of an unconscious patient and proceeded to punch the patient in the face up to ten times “like a boxer.” Now, this was not some pay back for an insult in a bar. Peckitt wanted to move a cheekbone back into place and decided to use a more Muhammad Ali approach.
While accounts say that colleagues at Ipswich Hospital gasped at the sight, a dental surgeon did apparently hold the head of the patient who was unconscious under anaesthesia.
The patient’s cheekbone had become displaced when he fell out of bed at the hospital – requiring a second procedure.
This account is fascinating from a torts perspective. The doctor could claim that there is no alternative but to force the bone back into place and that, while shocking to watch, it is before than surgically cutting the bone. He could further note that physicians force bones back into place in a variety of circumstances and that he was using a series of hits to do the same. Presumably, if he had used an instrument to do this procedure, it would have been less controversial but he could argue that using his fist gave him better control and feeling in moving the bone.
There is also the unreported issue of whether he was in fact successful in moving the bone. However, there is a report that the patient was in fact injured and could have been left blinded by the action. A second operation was carried out to reduce the fracture to the left zygomatic bone.
Peckitt was working as an honorary locum consultant in oral and maxillo-facial surgery at Ipswich Hospital but has been “erased” from the medical register after his knock out round in surgery. The panel chairman, Dr. Ian Spafford said: “The panel has determined that Mr Peckitt’s misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with his continuing to practice medicine . . . the medical register. In the light of all the evidence presented to it, it is satisfied that erasure is a proportionate sanction in his case.”
Source: Daily Mail