A New York woman filed a lawsuit against a Westchester doctor alleging that he used his cell phone during a medical procedure to take a Spanish language test. Mary Edwards is suing for damages caused by “severe emotional distress” after hearing her doctor speak Spanish phrases into his cell phone during the procedure. Edwards is suing both Dr. Eric Fishman and Westmed Medical Group, the entity that owns the clinic where her surgery was performed.
The 70-year-old woman was being treated for a varicose vein when she heard Dr. Fishman speaking in Spanish. According to the lawsuit, when Edwards asked the doctor what he was doing, Dr. Fishman amazingly responded that he was taking a Spanish language test on his smartphone. According to Edwards lawyer, that left her with an intense, and understandable, fear that the doctor was not paying attention to her procedure. Because her varicose veins were fixed without any issues, the emotional distress caused by the doctor is the basis for the lawsuit.
Speaking to LoHud.com, Edward’s attorney said that, “She was in absolute terror during the operation. She had no clue what was going on until after.”
According to the lawsuit, Edwards even asked Dr. Fishman about his Spanish tests after the procedure. He responded that he needs to be fluent in Spanish to be effective at his job. Then, according to Edwards, he said that her procedure was the only time he was available that week to take the proficiency test. A brief look at his medical profiles confirms that Dr. Edwards broadcasts himself as a “Spanish-speaking” physician. His reviews online are mostly positive.
In her lawsuit, Edwards points to the American College of Surgeons general recommendation against using cell phones during surgeries. Minor exceptions may occur if there was a necessity or an actual personal emergency. Moreover, Edwards claims that when she met with two officials from Westmed Medical Group that both acknowledged the inappropriateness of the doctor’s behavior.
This was not Edwards only complaint against the doctor in her lawsuit. During her first procedure with the doctor, she alleges that he openly spoke about his other patients and their health. A doctor speaking about confidential health information is a clear violation of federal law and New York law that protects the privacy of medical records.
Fishman’s office is located at 3030 Westchester Avenue in Purchase, New York. He received his doctorate degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and, according to his online profile, is affiliated with numerous hospitals throughout the New York metropolitan area.