A "terrorised" woman is suing a doctor who operated on her while simultaneously taking a Spanish exam over the telephone.
Mary Edwards, 70, claims she suffered "severe emotional distress" when Dr Eric Fishman remedied her varicose vein while chatting on his mobile about experiencing blurred vision, diabetes and night sweats in Spanish – a language that Edwards is proficient in.
It later transpired that Fishman had been taking a Spanish oral proficiency examination, according to court documents.
The Port Chester physician explained that he needed to brush up on his Spanish language skills in order to accommodate his many Latino clients.
But Edwards claims she was left traumatised by the operation, for which she was fully conscious throughout, having only gone under local anaesthetic.
She is seeking unspecified monetary damages from Fishman and his employer, Westmed Medical Group, based in Purchase.
Fishman claimed that the only time he was able to take the test was the same time as Edwards' operation but admitted that this was a "terrible mistake", according to the complaint.
The document claims that Fishman's actions were "outrageous in character", "beyond all bounds of possible decency" and "utterly intolerable in a civilised community".
It further states that Edwards "continues" to suffer with the emotional consequences of his attempts to juggle surgery with the language of Miguel de Cervantes.
The complaint cites a "Statement on Distractions" from the American College of Surgeons, which reads: "The undisciplined use of smartphones in the operating room – whether for voice, email, or data communication and whether by the surgeon or other members of the surgical team – may pose a distraction and may compromise patient care."