ASC patient files complaint over incident during surgery

A 67-year-old man who had eye surgery said his physician and surgical staff hid evidence of a mishap that left him with a small cut on his forehead, Kaiser Health News reported Nov. 28.

Jerry Bilinski had cataract surgery at the Fayetteville (N.C.) Ambulatory Surgery Center, which is part of Carolina Eye Associates. He was under light sedation and heard commotion during the procedure.

"I hear the doctor yelling at me, 'Don't move! Stay still!' – yelling in my ear," Mr. Bilinski said. "And then I hear the doctor say, 'What's that cut on his head?'"

He had a small abrasion on his forehead which later healed, and his surgery was a success. However, he said surgical staff didn't mention the incident after surgery. He said his surgeon, Tarra Millender, MD, also didn't address it until he brought it up at a follow up appointment.

"And at that point I think she probably knew the jig was up and said, 'Yeah, we had a little incident. You had a little adverse impact from the anesthesia,'" Mr. Bilinski said. 

Later, Mr. Bilinski's medical records said the surgery had "no complications." The ASC said he owed $50 after Medicare insurance coverage.

Mr. Bilinski spoke with T.J. McCaskill, chief operating officer for Carolina Eye Associates, but didn't receive a satisfactory explanation or apology. Mr. Bilinski filed a complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board and filed an affidavit with police.

Mr. McCaskill, declined KHN's request for an interview. The physician who operated on Mr. Bilinski didn't respond to KHN.

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