Cardiothoracic surgeon fired after allowing CEO to make first incision in surgery

Kingsport, Tenn.-based Ballad Health's Bristol Regional Medical Center fired cardiothoracic surgeon Nathan Smith, MD, after he offered and let the CEO of Bristol Regional make the first cut in a surgery, local NBC affiliate WCYB reports.

Greg Neal was the CEO of Bristol Regional. Dr. Smith allowed Mr. Neal to make the first incision during a surgery. After learning of the incident, Ballad Health asked Mr. Neal to resign. Ballad Health fired Dr. Smith Aug. 20.

A Ballad Health team member used the Ballad Health compliance process to report the issue. A Ballad Health spokesperson commented on the incident, saying, "This underscores the importance of our compliance program, and makes clear that all team members, including senior leaders, are expected to comply with our policies designed to protect patients."

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